In all our trials, each one must take care not to be overcome or to come down from a spiritual height to a carnal life. He who had progressed should not look back by turning toward the past or failing to reach out to the future. This is true of every trial. How much greater care must be prescribed in a trial such as that foretold for the city as “Such as has not been from the beginning, neither will be”? How much more this is true for that final tribulation which is to come on the world, that is, the church spread through the whole world?1
Plough your field if you want to be sent to the kingdom of God. Let your field flower, fruitful with good rewards. Let there be a fruitful vine on the sides of your house and young olive plants around your table. Already aware of its fertility, let your soul, sown with the Word of God and tilled by spiritual farming, say to Christ, “Come, my brother, let us go out into the field.” Let him reply, “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride. I have gathered my vintage of myrrh.” What is better than the vintage of faith, by which the fruit of the resurrection is stored and the spring of eternal rejoicing is watered?2
“The law is spiritual” and the things that happened to the ancients “happened figuratively.” Let us see if perhaps Lot, who did not look back, is the rational understanding and the courageous soul. His wife here represents the flesh. The flesh always looks to vices. When the soul is going toward salvation, it looks backward and seeks pleasures. Concerning this, the Lord also said, “No man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.” He adds, “Remember Lot’s wife.” The fact that “she became a little statue of salt” appears to be an open indication of her foolishness. Salt represents the wisdom that she lacked.3
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:
By the two who are in one bed, he seems to hint at those who live in rest and plenty. They are equal to one another, as far as being possessed of worldly affluence. The bed is the symbol of rest. He says, “One of them will be taken, and one will be left.” How is one taken? Not all those who are possessed of wealth and ease in this world are wicked and merciless.4
Let us first speculate what the eagles are, so we may determine what the body is. The souls of the righteous are compared with eagles, because they seek the heights, leave the depths behind, and reportedly reach a great age. David also says to his soul, “Your youth will be renewed like that of an eagle.” If we understood the eagles, we cannot doubt concerning the body, particularly if we remember that Joseph received the body of Christ from Pilate. Does it not seem to you that the eagles around the body are Mary of Cleopas, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of the Lord, and the assembly of the apostles around the Lord’s tomb?5
He says concerning this body, “My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” Around this body, eagles fly on spiritual wings. Around the body, eagles believe that Jesus has come in the flesh, because every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. Where faith is, there is the sacrament and the dwelling place of holiness. The body is also the church, in which we are renewed in the spirit through the grace of baptism, and the frailties of old age are restored for ages of new life.6
- LETTER 199.32. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 272). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 8.43. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 273). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- HOMILIES ON GENESIS 5.2. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (pp. 273–274). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 118. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 274). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 8.54–55. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 275). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 8.56. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 275). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.