At that time, Jesus, when He had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. Then the Jews (because it was the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day (for that was a great sabbathday), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers, therefore, came: and they broke the legs of the first and of the other that was crucified with Him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony, and his testimony is true.
Verse 31. Because it was the Parasceve. It is also called, (v. 14.) the day of preparation of the Pasch. Lit. the Parasceve of the Pasch. And (v. 31.) the Jews, because it was the preparation, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for that was a great sabbath day, &c. Some pretend, by these expressions, to prove that Friday, the year Christ suffered, was not the first and great day of the feast of Azyms, but only the day of preparation, and that on Friday night the Jews eat the paschal lamb, and not the night before, or Thursday night, as Christ had done with his disciples. But according to the common exposition, Friday is here called the day of preparation, for the great and solemn sabbath, which happened in the paschal week. See Tillemont on the 5th passage out of John, p. 698. § 11. and 12. Wi.
Verse 34. There came out blood and water, which naturally could not come from a dead body. Wi. — Hence it is, that the sacred mysteries flow; as often, therefore, as thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert going to drink from thy Saviour's sacred side. S. Chrys. hom. lxxxiv. in Joan. — The holy Fathers say, that the spouse of Jesus Christ was here taken out of his side, whilst sleeping on the cross, as Eve was from Adam's side, when he was cast asleep in Paradise.
480 — The Incarnation
The Errors of Peter John Olivi (The Wounds of Christ, the Union of the Soul and Body, and Baptism) From the edict "De Summa Trinitate et fide catholica"
(The incarnation). Clinging firmly to the “foundation” of the Catholic faith “against which,” as the Apostle testifies “no one is able to place anything different” [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], we openly acknowledge with holy mother Church that the only begotten Son of God in all these things in which God the Father is, existing eternally together with the Father, parts of our nature as well as unity, from which He Himself existing as true God in Himself became true man, namely, a human body capable of suffering and an intellective or rational soul, forming the body by Himself and essentially, assumed it temporarily in the Virginal womb unto the unity of its substance and person. And that the same Word of God in this assumed nature, for working out the salvation of all, wished not only to be fastened to the Cross and to die on it, but also, after His Spirit had been given up, permitted His side to be pierced with a lance, that in the streams of water and blood which flowed from it there might be formed the one and only immaculate virgin, holy Mother Church, the Spouse of Christ, just as from the side of the first man asleep Eve was formed into a marriage with him, that so truth should respond to a certain figure of the first and ancient Adam “who,” according to the Apostle, “is formed for the future” [cf. Rom. 5:14], in our new Adam, that, is, Christ. That is, I say, the truth, made strong by the testimony of that very great eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying around the other evangelical animals, namely of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, who narrating in his Gospel the condition and order of this sacrament said: “But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it has given testimony and his testimony is true. And he knows that he speaks the truth, that you [also] may believe” [John 19:33-35]. We, therefore, turning our attention to such remarkable testimony and to the common opinion of apostolic reflection of the Holy Fathers and the Doctors in accord with which alone it is proper to declare these things, with the approval of the sacred council we declare that the above mentioned Apostle and Evangelist John had kept the right order of the deed accomplished in the aforesaid, when he said that Christ “already dead, one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance.”
945 — The Water to be Mixed with Wine to be Offered in the Chalice
The Council of Trent SESSION XXII (Sept. 17, 1562) The Doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The holy Synod then admonishes priests that it has been prescribed by the Church to mix water with the wine to be offered in the chalice [can. 9], not only because the belief is that Christ the Lord did so, but also because there came from His side water together with blood [John 19:34], since by this mixture the sacrament is recalled. And since in the Apocalypse of the blessed John the peoples are called waters [Rev. 17:1, 15], the union of the faithful people with Christ, their head, is represented.
417 — Water, not phlegm
INNOCENT III 1198-1216 From the letter "In quadam nostra" to Hugo, Bishop of Ferrara, March 5, 1209
You say that you have read in a certain decretal letter of ours that it is wrong to think what certain ones have presumed to say, namely, that the water of the Eucharist is changed into phlegm, for they say falsely that from the side of Christ not water but a watery liquid came forth. Moreover, although you recall that great and authentic men have thought this, whose opinions in speech and in writings up to this time you have followed, from whose (opinions), however, we differ, you are compelled to agree with our opinion.… For if it had not been water but phlegm which flowed from the side of the Savior, he who saw and gave testimony to the truth [cf. John 19:35] certainly would not have said water but phlegm.… It remains, therefore, that of whatever nature that water was, whether natural, or miraculous, or created anew by divine power, or resolved in some measure of component parts, without doubt it was true water.
28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxix.) He who appeared man, suffered all these things; He who was God, ordered them: After this Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished; i. e. knowing the prophecy in the Psalms, And when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink, (Ps. 68) said, I thirst: As if to say, ye have not done all (minus): give me yourselves: for the Jews were themselves vinegar, having degenerated from the wine of the Patriarchs and the Prophets. Now there was a vessel full of vinegar: they had drunk from the wickedness of the world, as from a full vessel, and their heart was deceitful, as it were, a spunge full of caves and crooked hiding places: And they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) They were not softened at all by what they saw, but were the more enraged, and gave Him the cup to drink, as they did to criminals, i. e. with a hyssop.
AUGUSTINE. The hyssop around which they put the spunge full of vinegar, being a mean herb, taken to purge the breast, represents the humility of Christ, which they hemmed in and thought they had circumvented. (ὑσσώπῳ περιθέντες) For we are made clean by Christ’s humility. Nor let it perplex you that they were able to reach His mouth when He was such a height above the ground: for we read in the other Evangelists, what John omits to mention, that the spunge was put upon a reed.
THEOPHYLACT. Some say that the hyssop is put here for reed, its leaves being like a reed.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxix) viz. what prophecy had foretold so long before.
BEDE. It may be asked here, why it is said, When Jesus had received the vinegar, when another Evangelists says, He would not drink. (Mat. 27:34) But this is easily settled. He did not receive the vinegar, to drink it, but fulfil the prophecy.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxix) Then as there was nothing left Him to do before He died, it follows, And He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, only dying when He had nothing more to do, like Him who had to lay down His life, and to take it up again.
GREGORY. (xi. Mor. iii.) Ghost is put here for soul: for had the Evangelist meant any thing else by it, though the ghost departed, the soul might still have remained.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) He did not bow His head because He gave up the ghost, but He gave up the ghost because at that moment He bowed His head. Whereby the Evangelist intimates that He was Lord of all.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxix) For who ever had such power to sleep when he wished, as our Lord had to die when He wished? What power must He have, for our good or evil, Who had such power dying?
THEOPHYLACT. Our Lord gave up His ghost to God the Father, shewing that the souls of the saints do not remain in the tomb, but go into the hand of the Father of all; while sinners are reserved for the place of punishment, i. e. hell.
31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) The Jews who strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel, after their audacious wickedness, reason scrupulously about the day: The Jews therefore because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath.
BEDE. Parasceue, i. e. preparation: the sixth day was so called because the children of Israel prepared twice the number of loaves on that day. For that sabbath day was an high day, i. e. on account of the feast of the passover.
Besought Pilate that their legs might be broken.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) Not in order to take away the legs, but to cause death, that they might be taken down from the cross, and the feast clay not be defiled by the sight of such horrid torments.
THEOPHYLACT. For it was commanded in the Law that the sun should not set on the punishment of any one; or they were unwilling to appear tormentors and homicides on a feast day.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv. 3) How forcible is truth: their own devices it is that accomplish the fulfilment of prophecy: Then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side.
THEOPHYLACT. To please the Jews, they pierce Christ, thus insulting even His lifeless body. But the insult issues in a miracle: for a miracle it is that blood should flow from a dead body.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx.) The Evangelist has expressed himself cautiously; not struck, or wounded, but opened His side: (ἔνυξε, aperuit V.) whereby was opened the gate of life, from whence the sacraments of the Church flowed, without which we cannot enter into that life which is the true life: And forthwith came thereout blood and water. That blood was shed for the remission of sins, that water tempers the cup of salvation. This it was which was prefigured when Noah was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark, by which the animals that were not to perish by the deluge entered; which animals prefigured the Church. To shadow forth this, the woman was made out of the side of the sleeping man; for this second Adam bowed His head, and slept on the cross, that out of that which came therefrom, there might be formed a wife for Him. O death, by which the dead are quickened, what can be purer than that blood, what more salutary than that wound!
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv) This being the source whence the holy mysteries are derived, when thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert about to drink out of Christ’s side.
THEOPHYLACT. Shame then upon them who mix not water with the wine in the holy mysteries: they seem as if they believed not that the water flowed from the side. Had blood flowed only, a man might have said that there was some life left in the body, and that that was why the blood flowed. But the water flowing is an irresistible miracle, and therefore the Evangelist adds, And he that saw it bare record.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxv. 3) As if to say, I did not hear it from others, but saw it with mine own eyes. And his record is true, he adds, not as if he had mentioned something so wonderful that his account would be suspected, but to stop the mouths of heretics, and in contemplation of the deep value of those mysteries which he announces.
And he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) He that saw it knoweth; let him that saw not believe his testimony. He gives testimonies from the Scriptures to each of these two things he relates. After, they brake not His legs, He adds, For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken, a commandment which applied to the sacrifice of the paschal lamb under the old law, which sacrifice foreshadowed our Lord’s. Also after, One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, then follows another Scripture testimony; And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced, (Zech. 12:10) a prophecy which implies that Christ will come in the very flesh in which He was crucified.
JEROME. (Pref. ad Pentet.) This testimony is taken from Zacharias.