Saint Anthony, Abbot

AUGUSTINE:

It is not in one’s own power, however admirable and trustworthy may be the knowledge one has of the facts, to determine the order in which he will recall them to memory. For the way in which one thing comes into one’s mind before or after another proceeds not as we will, but simply as it occurs to us. It is reasonable enough to suppose that each of the Evangelists believed it to have been his duty to relate what he had to relate in that order in which it had pleased God to suggest it to his recollection.1

ORIGEN:

And why did he touch him, since the law forbade the touching of a leper? He touched him to show that “all things are clean to the clean.” Because the filth that is in one person does not adhere to others, nor does external uncleanness defile the clean of heart. So he touches him in his untouchability, that he might instruct us in humility; that he might teach us that we should despise no one, or abhor them, or regard them as pitiable, because of some wound of their body or some blemish for which they might be called to render an account.… So, stretching forth his hand to touch, the leprosy immediately departs. The hand of the Lord is found to have touched not a leper, but a body made clean! Let us consider here, beloved, if there be anyone here that has the taint of leprosy in his soul, or the contamination of guilt in his heart? If he has, instantly adoring God, let him say: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”2

CHRYSOSTOM:

He did not simply say, “I will, be cleansed,” but he also “extended his hand, and touched him”—an act we do well to analyze. If he cleansed him merely by willing it and by speaking it, why did he also add the touch of his hand? For no other reason, it seems to me, than that he might signify by this that he is not under the hand of the law, but the law is in his hands. Hence to the pure in heart, from now on, nothing is impure. […] He touched the leper to signify that he heals not as servant but as Lord. For the leprosy did not defile his hand, but his holy hand cleansed the leprous body.3

EPHREM THE SYRIAN:

Because he sent him to the priests, he thereby upheld the priesthood. He also ordered him to make an offering for his cleansing. did he not thus uphold the law, as Moses had commanded? There were many prescriptions concerning leprosy. But they were unable to procure any benefit. Then the Messiah came, and, with his word, bestowed healing and abolished these many precepts which the law had reckoned should exist for leprosy.4

BEDE:

In the performance of this miracle Jesus requested silence.  Yet it did not remain concealed in silence for long. So it is with the called people of God—while following his precepts and example, they may prefer their responsible actions to remain unspoken, yet for the benefit of others providence may allow them to become known contrary to their own wishes.5

CHRYSOSTOM:

Therefore, “exhort one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today.’ ” That is, edify one another, raise yourselves up, lest the same things should befall you. “Lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Do you see that sin produces unbelief? For as unbelief brings forth an evil life, so also a soul, “when it is come into a depth of evils, becomes contemptuous” and, having become contemptuous, it endures not even to believe, in order thereby to free itself from fear.6

PHOTIUS:

Many have evil, unbelieving hearts. To have an evil, unbelieving heart means to have no faith. Evil is the love of property, wantonness, alcohol, and the like.… Beware that your heart may not become evil and unbelieving; unbelief, he says, is separation from the living God.7

CHRYSOSTOM:

He said “today,” that they might never be without hope. “Exhort one another daily,” he says. That is, even if persons have sinned, as long as it is “today,” they have hope; let them not then despair so long as they live. Above all things indeed, he says, “Let there not be an evil, unbelieving heart.” But even if there should be, let no one despair, but let that one recover; for as long as we are in this world, the “today” is in season.8

 

Footnotes

  1. HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS 2.21.51.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 24). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. FRAGMENTS ON MATTHEW 2.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 24). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW, HOMILY 25.2.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 24). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 25). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL OF MARK 1.1.45.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 25). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 6.3–4.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (pp. 55–56). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. FRAGMENTS ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 3.12.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 56). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 6.8.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 56). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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