Gospel of Saint Martin of Tours

Luke 11:33-36

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, that they that come in may see the light. The light of thy body is thine eye. If thine eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome; but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness, the whole shall be lightsome, and as a bright lamp shall enlighten thee.


Verse 34. If thy eye be single. As when the eyes of the body are pure, and free from the mixture of bad humours, the whole body is lightsome; so if the eyes of the mind, viz. reason, faith and understanding, are not infected with the pestiferous humours of envy, avarice, and other vices, the whole mind will be illuminated by the presence of the Holy Ghost. Take care, therefore, lest by giving way to these vices, the light which is in thee be turned into darkness. Barradius.

Verse 36. The whole shall be lightsome. Not only all thy body, but all about thee; all thy ways and actions. Wi.

Catena Aurea

33. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. The Jews said, that our Lord performed His miracles not for faith, i. e. that they might believe on Him, but to gain the applause of the spectators, i. e. that He might have more followers. He refutes therefore this calumny, saying, No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick.

BEDE. Our Lord here speaks of Himself, shewing that although He had said above that no sign should be given to this wicked generation but the sign of Jonas, yet the brightness of His light should by no means be hid from the faithful. He Himself indeed lights the candle, who filled the vessel of our nature with the fire of His divinity; and this candle surely He wished neither to hide from believers, nor to place under a bushel, that is, enclose it in the measure of the law, or confine it within the limits of the single nation of the Jews. But He placed it upon a candlestick, that is, the Church, for He has imprinted on our foreheads the faith of His incarnation, that they who with a true faith wish to enter the Church, might be able to see clearly the light of the truth. Lastly, He bids them remember to cleanse and purify not only their works, but their thoughts, and the intentions of the heart. For it follows, The light of the body is the eye.

AMBROSE. Either faith is the light, as it is written, Thy word, O Lord, is a lantern to my feet. (Ps. 119:105.) For the word of God is our faith. But a lantern cannot shine except it has received its quality from something else. Hence also the powers of our mind and senses are enlightened, that the piece of money which had been lost may be found. Let no one then place faith under the law, for the law is bound by certain limits, grace is unlimited; the law obscures, grace makes clear.

THEOPHYLACT. Or else, because the Jews, seeing the miracles, accused them out of the malice of their heart, therefore our Lord tells them, that, receiving the light, that is, their understanding, from God, they were so darkened with envy, as not to recognise His miracles and mercies. But to this end received we our understanding from God, that we should place it upon a candlestick, that others also who are entering in may see the light. The wise man indeed has already entered, but the learner is still walking. As if He said to the Pharisees, You ought to use your understanding to know the miracles, and declare them to others, seeing that what you see are the works not of Beelzebub, but the Son of God. Therefore, keeping up the meaning, He adds, The light of the body is the eye.

ORIGEN. For He gives the name of the eye especially to our understanding, but the whole soul, although not corporeal, He metaphorically calls the body. For the whole soul is enlightened by the understanding.

THEOPHYLACT. But as if the eye of the body be light the body will be light, but if dark the body will be dark also, so is it with the understanding in relation to the soul. Hence it follows, If thine eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light; but if evil, thy whole body will be full of darkness.

ORIGEN. For the understanding from its very beginning desires only singleness, containing no dissimulation, or guile, or division in itself.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 20. in Matt.) If then we have corrupted the understanding, which is able to let loose the passions, we have done violence to the whole soul, and suffer dreadful darkness, being blinded by the perversion of our understanding. Therefore adds he, Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. He speaks of a darkness which may be perceived, but which has its origin within itself, and which we every where carry about with us, the eye of the soul being put out. Concerning the power of this light He goes on to say, If thy whole body therefore be full of light, &c. &c.

ORIGEN. That is, If thy material body, when the light of a candle shines upon it, is made full of light, so that not one of thy members is any longer in darkness; much more when thou sinnest not, shall thy whole spiritual body be so full of light, that its brightness may be compared to the shining of a candle, while the light which was in the body, and which used to be darkness, is directed whithersoever the understanding may command.

GREGORY NAZIANZEN. (Epist. 41.) Or else; The light and eye of the Church is the Bishop. It is necessary then that as the body is rightly directed as long as the eye keeps itself pure, but goes wrong when it becomes corrupt, so also with respect to the Prelate, according to what his state may be, must the Church in like manner suffer shipwreck, or be saved.

GREGORY. (28. Mor. c. 12.) Or else; By the name body each particular action is understood which follows its own intention, as it were the eye of the spectators. Therefore it is said, The light of the body is the eye, because by the ray of a good intention the deserving parts of an action receive light. If then thy eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light, for if we intend rightly in singleness of heart, we accomplish a good work, even though it seem not to be good. And if thy eye be evil, thy whole body will be full of darkness, because when with a crooked intention even a right thing is done, although it appears to glitter in men’s sight, yet before the bar of the internal judge it is covered with darkness. Hence too it is rightly added, Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. For if what we think we do well we cloud by a bad intention, how many are the evils themselves which even when we do them we know to be evil?

BEDE. Now when He adds, If thy whole body therefore, &c. by the whole of our body He means all our works. If then thou hast done a good work with a good intention, having in thy conscience nothing approaching to a dark thought, though it chance that thy neighbour is injured by thy good actions, nevertheless for thy singleness of heart shalt thou be rewarded with grace here, and with glorious light hereafter; which he signifies, adding, And as the bright shining of a candle shall it give thee light. These words were especially directed against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who sought for signs that they might catch him.

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