Gospel of Fifth Last Sunday After Pentecost

Matthew 8:1-13

At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes fol-lowed Him: and behold a leper came and adored Him saying: Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, stretching forth His hand touched him, saying: I will Be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See, thou tell no man: but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. And when He had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and say-ing: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this: Go, and he goeth; and to another: Come, and he cometh; and to my servant: Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this marvelled, and said to them that followed Him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.


Verse 1. And when he was come down from the mountain. S. Matthew says, that Jesus Christ ascended the mountain, and sat down to teach the people; while S. Luke affirms, that he descended, and stood in a plain place. But there is no contradiction; for he first ascended to the top of the mountain, and then descended to an even plain, which formed part of the descent. Here he stood for a while, and cured the sick, as mentioned by S. Luke; but afterwards, according to the relation of S. Matthew, he sat down, which was the usual posture of the Jewish doctors. S. Aug.

Verse 2. As the three evangelists relate the cure of the leper in nearly the same words, and with the same circumstances, we may conclude they speak of the same miracle. S. Matthew alone seems to have observed the time and order of this transaction, viz. after the sermon of the mount; the other two anticipate it. The Bible de Vence seems to infer, from the connection S. Matthew makes between the sermon of the mount and the cure of the leper, that it was not the same leper as that mentioned, Mark i. 40. Luke v. 12. V. — Adored him. In S. Mark it is said, kneeling down, c. i. 40. In S. Luke, prostrating on his face. It is true, none of these expressions do always signify the adoration or worship which is due to God alone, as may appear by several examples in the Old and New Testament; yet this man, by divine inspiration, might know our blessed Saviour to be both God and man. Wi. — “Make me clean;” literally, “purify me;” the law treated lepers as impure. V. — The leper, by thus addressing our Saviour acknowledges his supreme power and authority, and shews his great faith and earnestness, falling on his knees, as S. Luke relates it. Chry. hom. xxvi. Our prayer should be such with great faith and confidence, qualified with profound humility, and entire diffidence of self.

Verse 3. Jesus, stretching forth his hand, touched him. By the law of Moses, whosoever touched a leper, contracted a legal uncleanness: but not by touching in order to heal him, says Theophylactus. Besides, Christ would teach them that he was not subject to this law. Wi. — “Touched him.” To shew, says S. Cyprian, that his body being united to the Divinity, had the power of healing and giving life. Also to shew that the old law, which forbad the touching of lepers, had no power over him; and that so far from being defiled by touching him, he even cleansed him who was defiled with it. S. Ambrose. — When the apostles healed the lame man, they did not attribute it to their own power, but said to the Jews: Why do you wonder at this? Or, why look you at us, as if by our power or strength we have made him walk? But when our Saviour heals the leper, stretching out his hand, to shew he was going to act of his own power, and independently of the law, he said: “I will. Be thou clean;” to evince that the cure was effected by the operation of his own divine will. Chry. hom. xxvi.

Verse 4. For a testimony to them. That is, when the priest finds thee truly cured, make that offering which is ordained in the law. Wi. — He did this to give us an example of humility, and that the priests, by approving of his miracle, and being made witnesses to it, might be inexcusable, if they would not believe him. M. — He thus shews his obedience to the law, and his respect for the diginity of priests. He makes them inexcusable, if they can still call him a transgressor of the law, and prevaricator. He moreover gives this public testimony to them of his divine origin. Chry. hom. xxvi. S. Chrysostom, in his third book on the priesthood, says: “the priests of the old law had authority and privilege only to discern who were healed of leprosy, and to denounce the same to the people; but the priests of the new law have power to purify, in very deed, the filth of the soul. Therefore, whoever despiseth them, is more worthy to be punished than the rebel Dathan and his accomplices.” Our Saviour willeth him to go and offer his gift or sacrifice, according as Moses prescribed in that case, because the other sacrifice, being the holiest of all holies, viz. his body, was not yet begun. S. Aug. l. ii. & Evang. ii. 3. & cont. adver. leg. & Proph. l. i. c. 19, 20.

Verse 5. A centurion. The same who (Luke vii. 3,) is said to have sent messengers to our Saviour. But there is no contradiction: for what a man does by his servants, or friends, he is many times said to do himself. He came not in person out of humanity, but by his message shewed an extraordinary faith. Wi. — The centurion shews a much stronger faith in the power of Christ, than those who let down the sick man through the roof, because he thought the word of Christ alone sufficient to raise the deceased. And our Saviour, to reward his confidence, not only grants his petition, as he does on other occasions, but promises to go with him to his house to heal his servant. Chry. hom. xxvii. The centurion was a Gentile, an officer in the Roman army. According to S. Luke he did not come to him in person, but sent messengers to him, who desired him to come down and heal his servant, whereas he seems here not to wish him to come: “Lord, I am not worthy,” &c. These difficulties may be easily removed. A person is said to appear before the judge, when his council appears for him; so he may be said to have come to Jesus, when he sent his messengers. Or it may be that he first sent his messengers, and afterwards went himself. As to the second difficulty, it may be said the messengers added that of their own accord, as appears from the text of S. Luke. M. — S. Augustin is of opinion that he did not go himself in person, for he thought himself unworthy, but that he sent first the ancients of the Jews, and then his friends, which last were to address Jesus in his name and with his words. l. ii de cons. Evang. c. xx. Thus we see that the request of the two sons of Zebedee was made by themselves to Jesus Christ, according to S. Mark; (x. 35,) and by the mouth of their mother, according to S. Matthew, xx. 20.

Verse 7. On this occasion our Saviour does what he never did before: every where indeed he meets the will of his supplicants, but here he runs before his request, saying: “I will come;” and this he does to teach us to imitate the virtue of the centurion.

Verse 8. Origen says, when thou eatest and drinkest the body and blood of our Lord, he entereth under thy roof. Thou also, therefore, humbling thyself, say: Domine, non sum dignus; Lord, I am not worth, &c. So said S. Chrysostom in his mass, Litturg. Græc. sub finem; and so doth the Catholic Church say at this day in every mass. See S. Augustin. Ep. cxviii. ad Janu. B. — See Luke vii. 6.

Verse 10. Christ here compares the faith of the centurion with that of the people in general, and not with that of his blessed mother and the apostles, whose faith was beyond a doubt much greater. M. — The Greek says, “neither in Israel.” — Jesus hearing this, marvelled. That is, by his outward carriage, says S. Aug. seemed to admire: but knowing all things, he could not properly admire any thing. — I have not found so great faith in Israel. This need not be understood of every one, but of those whom he had cured. Wi.

Verse 11. In consequence of the faith of this Gentile, Jesus Christ takes occasion to declare that many Gentiles would be called to sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, which is frequently represented under the figure of a feast. See chap. xxii. 2. Luke xiii. 29. xvi. 16. Apoc. xix. 9. In ancient times, the guests were reclined on beds when they took their meals. V.

Verse 12. Whilst the Jews, who glory in descending from the patriarchs, and who, on this title, are children and heirs of the celestial kingdom which had been promised them, shall be excluded for having rendered themselves unworthy by their unbelief. V. — Shall be cast out into exterior darkness. This is spoken so as to imply a comparison to a supper in a great room, with a number of lights, when they who are turned out in the night, stand without, starving, weeping, and gnashing their teeth. Wi.

Catena Aurea

1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." 3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, "I will; be thou clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4. And Jesus said unto him, "See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the Priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."

Jerome: After the preaching and teaching, is offered an occasion of working miracles, that by mighty works following, the preceding doctrine might be confirmed.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Because He taught them as one having authority, that He might not thence be supposed to use this method of teaching from ostentation, He does the same in works, as one having power to cure; and therefore, “When Jesus descended from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.”

Pseudo-Origen, Hom. in Liv. 5: While the Lord taught on the mount, the disciples were with Him, for to them it was given to know the secret things of the heavenly doctrine; but now as He came down from the mount the crowds followed Him, who had been altogether unable to ascent into the mount. They that are bowed by the burden of sin cannot climb to the sublime mysteries. But when the Lord came down from the mount, that is, stooped to the infirmity, and helplessness of the rest, in pity to their imperfections, “great multitudes followed Him,” some for renown, most for His doctrine, some for cures, or having their wants administered to.

Haymo: Otherwise; By the mount on which the Lord sat is figured the Heaven, as it is written, “Heaven is my throne.” [Isa 66:1] But when the Lord sits on the mount, only the disciples come to Him; because before He took on Him the frailty of our human nature, God was known only in Judaea [margin note: Ps 76:1]; but when He came down from the height of his Divinity, and took upon Him the frailty of our human nature, a great multitude of the nations followed Him. Herein it is shewn to them that teach that their speech should be so regulated, that as they see each man is able to receive, they should so speak the word of God. For the doctors ascend the mountain, when they shew the more excellent precepts to the perfect; they come down from the mount, in shewing the lesser precepts to the weak.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Among others who were not able to ascent into the mount was the leper, as bearing the burden of sin; for the sin of our souls is a leprosy. And the Lord came down from the height of heaven, as from a mountain, that He might purge the leprousness of our sin; and so the leper as already prepared meets Him as He came down.

Pseudo-Origen: He works the cures below, and does none in the mount; for there is a time for all things under heaven, a time for teaching, and a time for healing. On the mount He taught, He cured souls, He healed hearts; which being finished, as He came down from the heavenly heights to heal bodies, there came to Him a leper and made adoration to Him; before he made his suit, he began to adore, shewing his great reverence.

Pseudo-Chrys.: He did not ask it of Him as of a human physician, but adored Him as God. For faith and confession make a perfect prayer; so that the leprous man in adoring fulfilled the work of faith, and the work of confession in words, “he make adoration to him, saying;”

Pseudo-Origen: Lord, by Thee all things were made, Thou therefore, “if thou will, canst make me clean.” Thy will is the work, and all works are subject to Thy will. Thou of old cleansedst Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy by the hand of Elisha, and now, “if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

Chrys.: He said not, If Thou wilt ask of God, or, If Thou wilt make adoration to God; but, “If thou wilt.” Nor did he say, Lord, cleanse me; but left all to Him, thereby making Him Lord and attributing to Him the power over all.

Pseudo-Chrys.: And thus he rewarded a spiritual Physician with a spiritual reward; for as physicians are gained by money, so He with prayer. We offer to God nothing more worthy than faithful prayer. In that he say, “If thou wilt,” there is no doubt that Christ’s will is ready to every good work; but only doubt whether that cure would be expedient for him, because soundness of body is not good for all. “If thou wilt” then is as much as to say, I believe that Thou willest whatever is good, but I know not if this that I desire for myself is good.

Chrys.: He was able to cleanse by a word, or even by mere will, but He put out His hand, “He stretched forth his hand and touched him,” to shew that He was not subject to the Law, and that to the pure nothing is impure. Elisha truly kept the Law in all strictness, and did not go out and touch Naaman, but sends him to wash in Jordan. But the Lord shews that He does not heal as a servant, but as Lord heals and touches; His hand was not made unclean by the leprosy, but the leprous body was made pure by the holy hand. For He came not only to heal bodies, but to lead a soul to the true wisdom. And then He did not forbid to eat with unwashen hands, so here He teaches us that it is the leprosy of the soul we ought only to dread, which is sin, but that the leprosy of the body is no impediment to virtue.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But though He transgressed the letter of the Law, He did not transgress its meaning. For the Law forbade to touch leprosy, because it could not hinder that the touch should not defile; therefore it meant not that lepers should not be healed, but that they that touched should not be polluted. So He was not polluted by touching the leprosy, but purified the leprosy by touching it.

Damascenus, De Fid. Orth. iii. 15: For He was not only God, but man also, whence He wrought Divine wonders by touch and word; for as by an instrument so by His body the Divine acts were done.

Chrys.: But for touching the leprous man there is none that accuses Him, because His hearers were not yet seized with envy against Him.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Had He healed him without speaking, who would know by whose power he had been healed? So the will to heal was for the sake of the leprous man; the word was for the sake of them that beheld, therefore He said, “I will, be thou clean.”

Jerome: It is not to be read, as most of the Latins think, ‘I will cleanse thee;’ but separately, He first answers, “I will,” and then follows the command, “be thou clean.” The leper has said, “If thou wilt;” The Lord answers, “I will;” he first said, “Thou canst make me clean;” the Lord spake, “Be thou clean.”

Chrys.: No where else do we see Him using this word though He be working ever so signal a miracle; but He here adds, “I will,” to confirm the opinion of the people and the leprous man concerning His power.

Nature obeyed the word of the Purifier with proper sped, whence it follows, “and straight his leprosy was cleansed.” But even this word, “straightway,” is too slow to express the speed with which the deed was done.

Pseudo-Origen: Because he was not slow to believe, his cure is not delayed; he did not linger in his confession, Christ did not linger in His cure.

Aug., De. Cons. Evan., ii, 19: Luke has mentioned the cleansing of this leper, though not in the same order of events, but as his manner is to recollect things omitted, and to put first things that were done later, as they were divinely suggested; so that what they had known before, they afterwards set down in writing when they were recalled to their minds.

Chrys.: Jesus when healing his body bids him tell no man; “Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man.” Some say that He gave this command that they might, not through malice distrust his cure. But this is said foolishly, for He did not so cure him as that his purity should be called in question: but He bids him “tell no man,” to teach that He does not love ostentation and glory. How is it then that to another to whom He had healed He gives command to go and tell it? What He taught in that was only that we should have a thankful heart; for He does not command that it should be published abroad, but that glory should be given to God. He teaches us then through this leper not to be desirous of empty honour; by the other, not to be ungrateful, but to refer all things to the praise of God.

Jerome: And in truth what need was there that he should proclaim with his mouth what was evidently shewed in his body?

Hilary: Or that this healing might be sought rather than offered, therefore silence is enjoined.

Jerome: He sends him to the Priests, first, because of His humility that He may seem to defer to the Priests; secondly, that when they saw the leper cleansed they might be saved, if they would believe on the Saviour, or if not that they might be without excuse; and lastly, that He might not seem, as He was often charged, to be infringing the Law.

Chrys.: He neither every where broke, nor every where observed, the Law, but sometimes the one, sometimes the other. The one was preparing the way for the wisdom that was to come, the other was silencing the irreverent tongue of the Jews, and condescending to their weakness. Whence the Apostles also are seen sometimes observing, sometimes neglecting, the Law.

Pseudo-Origen: Or, He sends him to the Priests that they might know that he was not cleansed according to the manner of the Law, but by the operation of grace.

Jerome: It was ordained in the Law, that those that had been cleansed of a leprosy should offer gifts to the Priests; as it follows, “And offer thy gift as Moses commanded for a testimony to them.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: Which is not to be understood, “Moses commanded it for a testimony to them;” but, “Go thou and offer for a testimony.”

Chrys.: For Christ, knowing beforehand that they would not profit by this, said not, ‘for their amendment,’ but, “for a testimony to them;” that is, for an accusation of them, and in attestation that all things that should have been done by Me, have been done. But though He thus knew that they would not profit by it, yet He did not omit any thing that behoved to be done; but they remained in their former ill-will. Also He said not, ‘The gift that I command,’ but, “that Moses commanded,” that in the meantime He might hand them over to the Law, and close the mouths of the unjust. That they might not say that He usurped the honour of the Priests, He fulfilled the work of the Law, and made a trial of them.

Pseudo-Origen: Or; “offer thy gift,” that all who see may believe the miracle.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; He command the oblation, that should they afterwards seek to put him out, he might be able to say, You have received gifts on my cleansing, how do ye now cast me out as a leper?

Hilary: Or we may read, “Which Moses commanded for a testimony;” inasmuch as what Moses commanded in the Law is a testimony, not an effect.

Bede, Hom. in Dom., 3 Epiph.: Should any be perplexed how, when the Lord seems here to approve Moses’ offering, the Church does not receive it, let him remember, that Christ had not yet offered His body for a holocaust. And it behoved that the typical sacrifices should not be taken away, before that which they typified was established by the testimony of the Apostles’ preaching, and by the faith of the people believing. By this man was figured the whole human race, for he was not only leprous, but, according to the Gospel of Luke, is described as full of leprosy. “For all have sinned, and need glory of God;” to wit, that glory, that the hand of the Saviour being stretched out, (that is, the Word being made flesh), and touching human nature, they might be cleansed from the vanity of their former ways; and that they that had been long abominable, and cast out from the camp of God’s people, might be restored to the temple and the priest, and be able to offer their bodies a living sacrifice to Him to whom it is said, “Thou art a Priest for ever.” [Ps 110:4]

Remig.: Morally; by the leper is signified the sinner; for sin makes an unclean and impure soul; he falls down before Christ when he is confounded concerning his former sins; yet he ought to confess, and to seek the remedy of penitence; so the leper shews his disease, and asks a cure. The Lord stretches out His hand when He affords the aid of Divine mercy; whereupon follows immediately remission of sin; nor ought the Church to be reconciled to the same, but on the sentence of the Priest.

5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6. And saying, "Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented." 7. And Jesus saith unto him, "I will come and heal him." 8. The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed. 9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, 'Go,' and he goeth; and to another, 'Come,' and he cometh; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he doeth it."

Pseudo-Chrys.: The Lord having taught His disciples on the mount, and healed the leper at the foot of the mount, came to Capharnaum. This is a mystery, signifying that after the purification of the Jews He went to the Gentiles.

Haymo: For Capharnaum, which is interpreted, The town of fatness, or, The field of consolation, signifies the Church, which was gathered out of the Gentiles, which is replenished with spiritual fatness, according to that, “That my soul may be filled with marrow and fatness,” [Ps 63:5] and under the troubles of the world is comforted concerning heavenly things, according to that, “Thy consolations have rejoiced my soul.” [Ps 94:19] Hence it is said, “When he had entered into Capharnaum the centurion came to him.”

Aug., Serm., 62, 4: This centurion was of the Gentiles, for Judaea had already soldiers of the Roman empire.

Pseudo-Chrys.: This centurion was the first-fruits of the Gentiles, and in comparison of his faith, all the faith of the Jews was unbelief; he neither heard Christ teaching, nor saw the leper when he was cleansed, but from hearing only that he had been healed, he believed more than he heard; and so he mystically typified the Gentiles that should come, who had neither read the Law nor the Prophets concerning Christ, nor had seen Christ Himself work His miracles. He came to Him and besought Him, saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously afflicted.”

Mark the goodness of the centurion, who for the health of his servant was in so great haste and anxiety, as though by his death he should suffer loss, not of money, but of his well being. For he reckoned no difference between the servant and the master; their place in this world may be different, but their nature is one. Mark also his faith, in that he said not, Come and heal him, because that Christ who stood there was present in every place; and his wisdom, in that he said not, Heal him here on this spot, for he knew that He was mighty to do, wise to understand, and merciful to hearken, therefore he did but declare the sickness, leaving it to the Lord, by His merciful power to heal. “And he is grievously afflicted;” this shews how he loved him, for when any that we love is pained or tormented, thought it be but slightly, yet we think him more afflicted than he really is.

Rabanus: All these things he recounts with grief, that he is “sick,” that it is with “palsy;” that he is “grievously afflicted” therewith, the more to shew the sorrow of his own heart, and to move the Lord to have mercy. In like manner ought all to feel for their servants, and to take thought for them.

Chrys., Hom. xxvi: But some say that he says these things in excuse of himself, as reasons why he did not bring the sick man himself. For it was impossible to bring one in a palsy, in great torment, and at the point to die. But I rather think it a mark of his great faith; inasmuch as he knew that a word alone was enough to restore the sick man, he deemed it superfluous to bring him.

Hilary: Spiritually interpreted, the Gentiles are the sick in this world, and afflicted with the diseases of sin, all their limbs being altogether unnerved, and unfit for their duties of standing and walking. The sacrament of their salvation is fulfilled in this centurion’s servant, of whom it is sufficiently declared that he was the head of the Gentiles that should believe. What sort of head this is, the song of Moses in Deuteronomy teaches, “He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the Angels.” [Deut 32:8]

Remig.: Or, in the centurion are figured those of the Gentiles who first believed, and were perfect in virtue. For a centurion is one who commands a hundred soldiers; and a hundred is a perfect number. Rightly, therefore, the centurion prays for his servant, because the first-fruits of the Gentiles prayed to God for the salvation of the whole Gentile world.

Jerome: The Lord seeing the centurion’s faith, humbleness, and thoughtfulness, straightway promises to go and heal him; “Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.”

Chrys.: Jesus here does what He never did; He always follows the wish of the supplicant, but here He goes before it, and not only promises to heal him, but to go to his house. This He does, that we may learn the worthiness of the centurion.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Had not He said, “I will come and heal him,” the other would never have answered, “I am not worthy.” It was because it was a servant for whom he made petition, that Christ promised to go, in order to teach us not to have respect to the great, and overlook the little, but to honour poor and rich alike.

Jerome: As we commend the centurion’s faith in that he believed that the Saviour was able to heal the paralytic; so his humility is seen in his professing himself unworthy that the Lord should come under his roof; as it follows, “And the centurion answered and said unto him, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.”

Rabanus: Conscious of his gentile life, he thought he should be more burdened than profited by this act of condescension from Him with whose faith he was indeed endued, but with whose sacraments he was not yet initiated.

Aug.: By declaring himself unworthy, he shewed himself worthy, not indeed into whose house, but into whose heart, Christ the Word of God should enter. Nor could he have said this with so much faith and humility, had he not borne in his heart Him whom he feared to have in his house. And indeed it would have been no great blessedness that Jesus should enter within his walls, if He had not already entered into his heart.

Chrysologus, Serm. 102: Mystically, his house was the body which contained his soul, which contains within it the freedom of the mind by a heavenly vision. But God disdains neither to inhabit flesh, nor to enter the roof of our body.

Pseudo-Origen, Hom. in div. 5: And now also when the heads of Churches, holy men and acceptable to God, enter your roof, then in them the Lord also enters, and do you think of yourself as receiving the Lord. And when you eat and drink the Lord’s Body [ed. note: “I am not worthy, Lord, that Thou shouldest come unto me; but as Thou didst vouchsafe to lodge in a den or stable of brute beasts, &c.” vid. Liturgy of St. John Chrys. also Bp. Andrew’s Devotions, and our Communion Service. “We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy Table, &c.”], then the Lord enters under your roof, and you then should humble yourself, saying, “Lord, I am not worthy.” For where He enters unworthily, there He enters to the condemnation of him who receives Him.

Jerome: The thoughtfulness of the centurion appears herein, that he saw the Divinity hidden beneath the covering of body; wherefore he adds, “But speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: He knew that Angels stood by unseen to minister to Him, who turn every word of his into act; yea and should Angels fail, yet diseases are healed by His life-giving command.

Hilary: Also he therefore says that it needed only a word to heal his son, because all the salvation of the Gentiles is of faith, and the life of them all is in the precepts of the Lord. Therefore he continues saying, “For I am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: He has here developed the mystery of the Father and the Son, by the secret suggestion of the Holy Spirit; as much as to say, Though I am under the command of another, yet have I power to command those who are under me; so also Thou, though under the command of the Father, in so far as Thou art Man, yet hast Thou power over the Angels. But Sabellius perhaps affirms, seeking to prove that the Son is the same as the Father, that it is to be understood thus; ‘If I who am set under authority have yet power to command, how much more Thou who are under the authority of none.’ But the words will not bear this exposition; for he said not, ‘If I being a man under authority,’ but, ‘For I also am a man set under authority;’ clearly not drawing a distinction, but pointing to a resemblance in this respect between himself and Christ.

Aug.: If I who am under command have yet power to command others, how much more Thou whom all powers serve!

Gloss. ord.: Thou are able without Thy bodily presence, by the ministry of Thy Angels, to say to this disease, Go, and it will leave him; and to say to health, Come, and it shall come to him.

Haymo: Or, we may understand by those that are set under the centurion, the natural virtues in which many of the Gentiles were mighty, or even thoughts good and bad. Let us say to the bad, Depart, and they will depart; let us call the good, and they shall come; and our servant, that is, our body, let us bid that it submit itself to the Divine will.

Aug., De Cons. Evan., ii, 20: What is here said seems to disagree with Luke’s account, “When the centurion heard concerning Jesus, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.” [Luke 7:3] And again, “When he was come nigh to the house, the centurion sent friends unto him, saying, Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof.”

Chrys.: But some say that these are two different occurrences; an opinion which has much to support it. Of Him in Luke it is said, “He loveth our nation, and has built us a synagogue;” but of this one Jesus says, “I have not found so great faith in Israel;” whence it might seem that the other was a Jew. But in my opinion they are both the same person. What Luke relates that he sent to Jesus to come to him, betrays the friendly services of the Jews. We may suppose that when the centurion sought to go to Jesus, he was prevented by the Jews, who offered to go themselves for the purpose of bringing him. But as soon as he was delivered from their importunity, then be sent to say, Do not think that it was from want of respect that I did not come, but because I thought myself unworthy to receive you into my house. When then Matthew relates, that he spoke thus not through friends, but in his own person, it does not contradict Luke’s account; for both have only represented the centurion’s anxiety, and that he had a right opinion of Christ. And we may suppose that he first sent this message to Him by friends as He approached, and after, when He was come thither, repeated it Himself. But if they are relating different stories, then they do not contradict each other, but supply mutual deficiencies.

Aug.: Matthew therefore intended to state summarily all that passed between the centurion and the Lord, which was indeed done through others, with the view of commending his faith; as the Lord spoke, “I have not found so great faith in Israel.” Luke, on the other hand, has narrated the whole as it was done, that so we might be obliged to understand in what sense Matthew, who could not err, meant that the centurion himself came to Christ, namely, in a figurative sense through faith.

Chrys.: For indeed there is no necessary contradiction between Luke’s statement, that he had built a synagogue, and this, that he was not an Israelite; for it was quite possible, that one who was not a Jew should have built a synagogue, and should love the nation.

10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of Heaven. 12. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Chrys.: As what the leper had affirmed concerning Christ’s power, “If thou will, thou canst cleanse me,” was confirmed by the mouth of Christ, saying, “I will, be thou clean;” so here He did not blame the centurion for bearing testimony to Christ’s authority, but even commended him. Nay more; it is something greater than commendation that the Evangelist signifies in the words, “But Jesus hearing marvelled.”

Pseudo-Origen, Hom. in Div. 5: Observe how great and what that is at which God the Only-begotten marvels. Gold, riches, principalities, are in His sight as the shadow or the flower that fadeth; in the sight of God none of these things is wonderful, as though it were great or precious, but faith only; this He wonders at, and pays honour to, this He esteems acceptable to Himself.

Aug., super Gen. c. Man. i. 8: But who was He that had created this faith in him, but only He who now marvelled at it? But even had it come from any other, how should He marvel who know all things future? When the Lords marvels, it is only to teach us what we ought to wonder at; for all these emotions in Him are not signs of passion, but examples of a teacher.

Chrys.: Wherefore He is said to have thus wondered in the presence of all the people, giving them an example that they also should wonder at Him; for it follows, “And he said to them that followed, I have not found so great faith in Israel.”

Aug., cont. Faust. xxii, 74: He praises his faith, but gives no command to quit his profession of a soldier.

Jerome: This He speaks of the present generation, not of all the Patriarchs and Prophets of past ages.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Andrew believed, but it was after John had said, “Behold the Lamb of God;” [John 1:36] Peter believed, but it was by reading the Scriptures; and Nathanael first received a proof of His Divinity, and then spoke forth his confession of faith.

Pseudo-Origen: Jairus, a prince in Israel, making request for his daughter, said not, ‘Speak the word,’ but, ‘Come quickly.’ Nicodemus, hearing of the sacrament of faith, asks, “How can these things be?” [John 3:9] Mary and Martha say, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died;” [John 11:21] as though distrusting that God’s power could be in all places at the same time.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, if we would suppose [ed. note: The text of Pseudo-Chrys has ‘si non sumus ausi putare.’] that his faith was greater than even that of the Apostles, Christ’s testimony to it must be understood as though every good in a man should be commended relatively to his character; as it were a great thing in a countryman to speak with wisdom, but in a philosopher the same would be nothing wonderful. In this way it may be said of the centurion, In none other have I found so great faith in Israel.

Chrys.: For it is a different thing for a Jew to believe and for a Gentile.

Jerome: Or perhaps in the person of the centurion the faith of the Gentiles is preferred to that of Israel; whence He proceeds, “But I say unto you, Many shall come from the east and from the west.”

Aug., Serm., 62, 4: He says, not ‘all,’ but many; yet these from the east and west; for by these two quarters the whole world is intended.

Haymo: Or; From the east shall come they, who pass into the kingdom as soon as they are enlightened; from the west they who have suffered persecution for the faith even unto death. Or, he comes from the east who has served God from a child; he from the west who in decrepit age has turned to God.

Pseudo-Origen: How then does He say in another place, that “the chosen are few?” Because in each generation there are few that are chosen, but when all are gathered together in the day of visitation they shall be found many. “They shall sit down,” not the bodily posture, but the spiritual rest, not with human food, but with an eternal feast, “with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,” where is light, joy, glory, and eternal length of days.

Jerome: Because the God of Abraham, the Maker of heaven, is the Father of Christ, therefore also is Abraham in the kingdom of heaven, and with him will sit down the nations who have believed in Christ the Son of the Creator.

Aug.: As we see Christians called to the heavenly feast, where is the bread of righteousness, the drink of wisdom; so we see the Jews in reprobation. “The children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness,” that is, the Jews, who have received the Law, who observe the types of all things that were to be, yet did not acknowledge the realities when present.

Jerome: Or the Jews may be called “the children of the kingdom,” because God reigned among them heretofore.

Chrys.: Or, He calls them “the children of the kingdom,” because the kingdom was prepared for them, which was the greater grief to them.

Aug., cont. Faust., xvi. 24: Moses set before the people of Israel no other God than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Christ sets forth the very same God. So that so far was He from seeking to turn that people away from their own God, that He therefore threatened them with the outer darkness, because He saw them turned away from their own God. And in this kingdom He tells them the Gentiles shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for no other reason than that they held the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To these Fathers Christ gives His testimony, not as though they had been converted after death, or had received justification after His passion.

Jerome: It is called, “outer darkness,” because he whom the Lord casts out leaves the light.

Haymo: What they should suffer there, He shews when He adds, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Thus in metaphor He describes the sufferings of the tormented limbs; the eyes shed tears when filled with smoke, and the teeth chatter together from cold. This shews that the wicked in hell shall endure both extreme cold and extreme heat: according to that in Job, “They shall pass from rivers of snow to the scorching heat.” [Job 24:19]

Jerome: Weeping and gnashing of teeth are a proof of bones and body; truly then is there a resurrection of the same limbs, that sank into the grave.

Rabanus: Or; The gnashing of teeth expresses the passion of remorse; repentance coming too late and self-accusation that he had sinned with such obstinate wickedness.

Remig.: Otherwise; By “other darkness,” He means foreign nations; for these words of the Lord are a historical prediction of the destruction of the Jews, that they were to be led into captivity for their unbelief, and to be scattered over the earth; for tears are usually caused by heat, gnashing of teeth by cold. “Weeping” then is ascribed to those who should be dispersed into the warmer climates of India and Ethiopia, “gnashing of teeth” to those who should dwell in the colder regions, as Hyrcania and Scythia.

Chrys.: But that none might suppose that these were nothing more than fair words, He makes them credible by the miracles following, “And Jesus said to the centurion, Go, and be it done to thee as thou hast believed.”

Rabanus: As though He had said, According to the measure of thy faith, so be thy grace. For the merit of the Lord may be communicated even to servants not only through the merit of their faith, but through their obedience to rule. It follows, “And his servant was healed in the self-same hour.”

Chrys.: Wherein admire the speediness, shewing Christ’s power, not only to heal, but to do it in a moment of time.

Aug., Serm., 62. 3: As the Lord did not enter the centurion’s house with His body, but healed the servant, present in majesty, but absent in body; so He went among the Jews only in the body, but among other nations He was neither born of a Virgin, nor suffered, nor endured human sufferings, nor did divine wonders; and yet was fulfilled that which was spoken, “A people that I have not known hath served me, and hath obeyed me by the hearing of the ear.” [Ps 18:43] The Jews behold, yet crucified Him; the world heard, and believed.

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