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15th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

15th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
15th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Patristic Commentary

overview; Not all who call Jesus Teacher doso appropriately, but only those who have a desire to learn from him. No one is able to say "teacher" properly except a disciple (origen). The Pharisees joined together as one, seeking to overcome him by force of numbers, since they could not overcome him by rational argument. Yet in the face of the truth, they show themselves to be impotent (incomplete work on matthew). If Christ had not responded to their asking/'What is the greatest commandment of the law?" then we might have concluded that one command was no greater than another. Not only is the greatest commandment to love the Lord, but it is also the first commandment. Worthy is a person, confirmed in all his or her gifts, who exults in the wisdom of God, having a heart full of the love of God, a soul completely enlightened by the lamp of knowledge and a mind filled with the Word of God. Whatever was written in Exodus or Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy depends upon these two commands: to love God and neighbor (origen). To love God with the whole heart is the cause of every other good (cyril of alexandria).

22:34 The Sadducees Silenced, the Pharisees Gather

the motive Is envy, not understanding the law. cyril of alexandria: After the humiliation of the Sadducees Jesus was highly regarded by the crowds. The Pharisees, filled with envy out of an immeasurable shameless-ness, again were testing him, hypocritically asking if he might deliver a ruling concerning the first commandment. By doing so, perhaps Jesus would amend the commandment in a manner that might lead to an accusation against him. Now, Matthew and Luke call the person who asked the question a lawyer, while Mark calls him a teacher of the law. This does not indicate a disagreement.' For they both represent the questioner as one learned in the law and as a teacher of the law who is an interpreter of the law to the people. But the Lord publicly reveals their evil. They were not coming to have him interpret the law so that they might benefit but because they were seized by envy. So Jesus teaches that one should not measure out one's devotion, loving God in part but also clinging in part to the concerns of this world. Through his teaching Jesus said that his commandment was the summary of all the commandments. The lawyer thought he could cast Jesus into danger as one who makes himself out to be God. Jesus failed to respond in the manner he expected, but he ends up praising Jesus, as Mark says.fragment 251.

the pharisees camb together. incomplete work on matthew; They came at him as one, that is, they overcame him as a crowd, since they could not overcome him by argument. In the face of the truth, they show themselves to be naked. Now they arm themselves with a crowd. For they said to him. One speaks for all and all speak for one, as if when one conquers, all seem to be victors. However, just as one may be a victor, one alone may also be confused. 0 Pharisees, you know and do everything on account of such men! Indeed, because at first you come as one, so must you be conquered by one alone. With one many were conquered. Yet all do not understand that they have all been conquered by one. Do not your own consciences acknowledge that they are confused? For it is a very superficial consolation for the man confused in his own conscience that he is ignored by others. homily 42.

22:35 A Lawyer Asks a Question
who can rightly call him teacher?

origen: Now let us consider one argument of entrapment: "Teacher," he says, "what is the greater commandment in the law?" He says "teacher" trying to entrap him, since he offers his thoughts not as a disciple of Christ. This however, will be clearer from an example we now offer. Consider: The father of a son is indeed the father, and no one else is able to call him father except the son; and the mother of a daughter is indeed her mother, and no one else can call her mother except her own daughter. And so the teacher of a disciple is indeed his teacher, and the disciple of a teacher is truly his disciple. As a result, no one is able to say "teacher" properly except a disciple. And see how, on account of this, that not all who call him teacher do so appropriately but only those who have a desire to learn from him. He said to his disciples, "You call me teacher and lord, and rightly so, for so I am." Therefore disciples of Christ properly indeed address him as teacher, and by this word from the Lord himself his servants rightly call him Lord. Thus the apostle spoke well when he said, "Yet for us there is one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and for whom we exist." And consider what he says, "It is enough for the disciple to be" not simply like a teacher but "like his teacher." Therefore if anyone does not learn something from this word or surrender himself with his whole heart, in order to become his delightful dwelling place but still calls him "teacher," he is brother to the Pharisees attempting to entrap Christ while calling him "teacher." And so all who say "Our Father who art in heaven" ought not to have "the spirit of slavery in fear but a spirit of the adoption of sons." However, whoever does not have "the spirit of adoption of sons" and yet says "Our Father who art in heaven" is lying, since he is not a son of God, while calling God his father. commentary on matthew 2.

22:36 Which Is the Great Commandment?

the greatest commandment? origen: The question itself, however, was this: "What is the greatest command of the law?"—a question of great worth which will allow us to explain something of the differences between these commands. For certain commands are very great, but certain others are secondary. Hence we must look at each right down to the least important of these commands. For if in the baiting of the Pharisees and their asking, "What is the greater commandment of the law?" Christ had not responded, then we would conclude that one command wasnogreater than another. commentary on matthew 2.

22:37 Loving the Lord Your God

love god WITH your whole heart. origen: However, now as he responds, he says, "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole mind." This is the greatest and the first commandment. His statement contains something necessary for us to know, since it is the greatest. The others— even to the least of them—are inferior to it. commentary on matthew 2.

heart, mind and soul. origen: Worthy is he, confirmed in all his gifts, who exults in the wisdom of God, having a heart full of the love of God, and a soul completely enlightened by the lamp of knowledge and a mind filled with the word of God. It follows then that all such gifts truly come from God. He would understand that all the law and the prophets are in some way a part of the wisdom and knowledge of God. He would understand that all the law and the prophets depend upon and adheretothe principle of the love of the Lord God and of neighbor and that the perfection of piety consists in love. commentary on matthew 4.

with all your heart. cyril OF alexandria: Therefore the first commandment teaches every kind of godliness. For to love God with the whole heart is the cause of every good. The second commandment includes the righteous acts we do toward other people. The first commandment prepares the way for the second and in turn is established by the second. For the person who is grounded in the love of God clearly also loves his neighbor in all things himself. The kind of person who fulfills these two commandments experiences all the commandments. fragment 251.

22:38-39 Loving One's Neighbor

the second Is like it. origen: This he adds since the Pharisees have asked truly "What is the greatest commandment in the law?" The Lord himself responds to them and teaches us. Not only is the greatest commandment to love the Lord, but as well it is the first commandment. It is first, however, not in the order of the Scriptures but in the order of virtue. And as this comes from such a source, it must be adhered to, since as with many established commands, Christ says that it is the first and greatest command that "you love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole mind and your whole soul," and the second, however, "is like unto" the first; and accordingly, this similitude is also great, "that you love your neighbor as you love yourself." This is how we understand the second one, while another may be third in magnitude and order, or a fourth, and so in order we number the commands of the law, accepting this as wisdom from God, who orders them even to the least. Such is the task of no one else but Christ alone, since he is "the power of God and the wisdom of God."commentary on matthew 2

22:40 These Two Commandments

law AND prophets IN summary. origen: After this you ask how it is that "all the law and the prophets depend upon these two commands." For it seems that the texts show us that whatever was written in Exodus or LeviticusorNumbers or Deuteronomy depend "upon these two commands." But how is the law which regards lepers or the continual flow of blood or the menstruation of women dependent "upon these two commands"? And still further, how does the prophecy about captured Jerusalem, or the vision of Egypt in Isaiah and the other prophets, or the vision of Tyre or whatever may be prophesied about Tyre or the king of Tyre,orIsaiah's vision of the four-footed beasts in the wasteland21 "depend upon these two commands"?

    & #160; It seems to me that the answer is something like this. He who fulfills all that is written concerning the love of God and neighbor is worthy to receive the greatest thanks from God.

    & #160; Concerning this it has been argued that "the utterance of wisdom [comes] through the Holy Spirit," after which follows "the utterance of knowledge" which is "according to the Spirit."commentary on matthew 4.

overview; Pharisees and Sadducees asked their deceptive questions to tempt Jesus, not to learn from him. They appeared to be well-prepared doctors of the law but were not. They were probing him only as tormentors. This is why the Lord chose to put his own questions to those who were professing to have knowledge of the law: that these matters might be argued before the people (origen). They were being gradually shown that it was not merely a man who was being tempted but God, whom no one is able to tempt. He was neither able to say straightforwardly the truth about himself nor to keep silent. He was not able to speak candidly, lest the Jews, in finding a greater occasion for blasphemy, be all the more enraged. However, it was not possible to silence the truth that had come in him. He propounded this ingenious question to them in order that while he was silent his question itself might reveal his identity and show them that he was not a man but God. So he asks directly, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord?" For how was it possible for him to be his Lord who was yet to be born from David (incomplete work on matthew)? He confused them by their own question so that, blushing, they might back away from his directness and thereafter ask him nothing further (origen). They had supposed that he was a mere man, yet they also said that the Christ is "the Son of David" (chrysostom). The incarnate Lord, truly God, truly human, is both David's Son as in a human line of ancestry and David's Lord as truly God (augustine). Their mouths were stopped but not their anger. The faults of the jealous are indeed able to be overcome but are difficult to put to rest (jerome).

22:41 Jesus Questions the Pharisees

the tables are turned. incomplete work on matthew; The confusion of the crowd had come about because of the providence of God, the gradual divine economy, which brings all things to ripeness at the proper time. Christ desires not to question those who resist but to teach them in whatever ways he can. Christ desires to teach even further those who already wish to be taught, and for this reason they desired to be questioned. The Lord who sets the limits of the sea is found here boldly setting himself against the devil. He can set such a limit there at any time he wants to. homily 42.1

22:42 Whose Son Is the Christ?

what do you think OF THE christ? chrysostom: Remember how many miracles have preceded this dialogue—after how many signs, after how many questions, after how great a display of his union with the Father in deeds as well as in words—now Jesus asks his own question. After so many previous events, he is now quietly leading them to the point of confessing that he is God. He does this so that they may not be able to say that he is an adversary to the law and a foe to God, even though he has worked mighty miracles.

    & #160; With his own disciples on the mount of transfiguration he had asked first what the others say and only then what they themselves say. But in this case he did not proceed in this way. For surely they would have said a deceiver and a wicked one, speaking all things without fear.Sofor this cause he inquires directly for the opinion of these men themselves.

    & #160; For since he was now about to go on to his Passion, he sets forth the prophecy that plainly proclaims him to be Lord. It is not as if the call to confession has emerged without any precipitating occasion, or from no reasonable cause or as if he had this as his prior aim. For he had already brought the issue to their attention, and they had answered that he was a mere man, in opposition to the truth. Now he is overthrowing their mistaken opinion. This is why he introduces David into the discussion, that his true identity and divinity might be more clearly recognized. For they had supposed that he was a mere man, yet they also say that the Christ is "the Son of David," Hence he now brings in the prophetic testimony to his being Lord, and to the genuineness of his Sonship and his equality in honor with his Father. the gospel of matthew, homily 71.2.

22:43 David Calls Him Lord

david inspired BY THE spirit. origen: It is very worthy for us to consider that our Savior willingly proposed to the Pharisees his question about the Christ, hoping that they might respond in a fitting manner. They were not able to respond adequately. Nonetheless it was the will of the Savior to enter into dialogue with his audacious proponents, the Pharisees, with their many propositions, and similarly with the Sadducees, who placed before him the question of the seven brothers and their one wife. The Pharisees and Sadducees asked their many questions to tempt Jesus, not to learn from him. They appeared to be well-prepared doctors of the law but were not. This is why the Lord chose to put his own questions to those who were professing to have knowledge of the law: that these matters might be argued openly before the people. The Lord did not give clear responses to his questioners even though he himself responded to all their questions. It was entirely appropriate that the Lord himself, in accordance with the custom of dining with the doctors, show and hand over true divine teaching. They nevertheless did not recognize him as the prophet who was the pinnacle of all prophets. commentary on matthew 5.

22;44 Sit at My Right Hand

the lord said TO my lord. incomplete work on matthew: The judgmental Jewish leaders were tempting Christ the man. They would not have tempted him if they had believed that he were the Son of God. Christ therefore was ready to show himself to them. He knew the dishonesty in their hearts. He was ready to show them that it was not a man who was tempted but God, whom no one is able to tempt. He was not able to say straightforwardly the truth about himself or to keep silent. He was not able to speak openly, lest the Jews, in finding a greater occasion for blasphemy, be all the more enraged. However, it was not possible to silence the truth that had come to him in order that he might let this same truth be known. And it was for this reason that he propounded this ingenious question to them, in order that while he was silent his question itself might show them that he was not a man but God. So he asks directly, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord?" For how was it possible for him to be his Lord who was yet to be born from David? I think that he posed this question not only against the ancient Pharisees but against our contemporary heretics as well. For he was the Son of David according to the flesh but Lord according to his divinity. homily 42.

22:45 How Is He David's Son?

if david calls him lord. augustine: Here then there is need for caution, lest Christ himself be thought to have denied that he was the Son of David. He did not deny that he was the Son of David, but he probed his detractorsonthe particular way this can be. You have said that Christ is the Son of David. I do not deny it. But "if David thus calls him Lord, how is he his Son?" Tell me how he could be his son who is also his Lord? They did not answer him but were dumbfounded.

    & #160; Let us then answer them by the explanation given by Christ himself. Where given? Through his apostle. By what source can we prove that Christ himself has explained it? The apostle says, "Would you receive a proof of Christ who speaks in me?" So it is through the apostle's voice that Christ has allowed this question to be solved. In the first place, do you remember what Christ said, speaking by the apostle to Timothy? "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel." So it is easy to see that Christ is the Son of David. But how is he also David's Lord? Let the apostle again tell us of the one who, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped." Acknowledge David's Lord. If you acknowledge David's Lord, our Lord, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Lord of the angels, equal with God, in the form of God, how is he David's Son? Note what follows. The apostle shows you David's Lord by saying, "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." And how is he David's Son? "But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in human form, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has also highly exalted him." Christ "of the seed of David," the Son of David, rose again because "he emptied himself." How did he empty himself? By taking upon himself that which he was not, not by losing that which he was. He emptied himself. He "humbled himself." Though he was God, he appeared as a man." He was despised as he walked on earth, he who made the heaven. He was despised as though a mere man, as though of no power. He was not only despised but also killed! He was that stone that was laid aside on the ground, which the Jews stumbled against and were shaken. And what does he himself say? "He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls, it shall grind him to powder,"12 First he was laid low, and they stumbled against him. He shall come from above, and he will "grind" them that have been shaken "to powder."

    & #160; Thus you have heard that Christ is both David's Son and David's Lord: David's Lord always, David's Son in time. David's Lord, born of the substance of his Father; David's Son, born of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Let us hold fast both. The one of them will be our eternal habitation; the other is our deliverance from our present exile. sermon 92.2-3.

22:46 No One Was Able to Answer Him

none dared question him. origen: And so Matthew added, "No one was able to say a word to him, and no one dared from that hour to ask him anything." The reason, however, that they had not dared to ask him even another word was this, that having been asked themselves, they could not respond. For if their question had come from a desire to learn, then they would never have proposed their questions to him. They dared not ask him anything now. For they were asking him only as tempters, and for this reason he wanted to confuse them by their own question so that, blushing, they might back away from his directness and thereafter ask him nothing further. We have spoken these things according to an understanding of the plain sense of the text. commentary on matthew 5.

No more questions. jerome: The Pharisees and Sadducees had been looking for an opportunity for deceiving him, looking to find some word that might be taken advantage of by the plotters. Yet they had been totally confounded in their conversations. So they asked nothing further. What did they do then? All they could do was turn him over to the custody of the Roman authorities. From this we learn that the faults of the jealous are indeed able to be overcome but are difficult to put to rest. commentary on matthew 4.22.46.

 

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