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FEATURED THIS WEEKCATENA AUREA

Blessed Guerric of Igny

Guerric appears to have lived a life of prayer and study near the Tournai Cathedral. His monastic formation was directly influenced by Bernard of Clairvaux, who praises him in several letters. In 1138, he became abbot of Igny Abbey, in the diocese of Rheims, a house dependent on Clairvaux. Here Guerric ruled as abbot until his death on 19 August 1157. It was here that he composed the 54 liturgical sermons that constitute his surviving works.

The Entry into Jerusalem

The Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) is Thomas Aquinas’ compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels. It seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Church Fathers.
Annotated index of Church Fathers used in commentary

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) – monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria

Mark 11:1-10

1. And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

2. And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

3. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

4. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

5. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

6. And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

7. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

8. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

10. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

COMMENTARY

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Now that the Lord had given sufficient proof of His virtue, and the cross was at hand, even at the door, He did those things which were about to excite them against Him with a greater openness; therefore although He had so often gone up to Jerusalem, He never however had done so in such a conspicuous manner as now.

THEOPHYLACT. That thus, if they were willing, they might recognise His glory, and by the prophecies, which were fulfilled concerning Him, know that He is very God; and that if they would not, they might receive a greater judgment, for not having believed so many wonderful miracles. Describing therefore this illustrious entrance, the Evangelist says, And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples.

BEDE. (in Marc. 3, 41) Bethany is a little village or town by the side of mount Olivet, where Lazarus was raised from the dead. But in what way He sent His disciples and for what purpose is shewn in these words, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you.

THEOPHYLACT. Now consider how many things the Lord foretold to His disciples, that they should find a colt; wherefore it goes on, And as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat, loose him, and bring him; and that they should be impeded in taking it, wherefore there follows, And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye, The Lord hath need of him; and that on saying this, they should be allowed to take him; wherefore there follows, And straightway he will send him hither; and as the Lord had said, so it was fulfilled. Thus it goes on: And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways meet; and they loose him.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. ii. 66) Matthew says, an ass and a colt, the rest however do not mention the ass. Where then both may be the case, there is no disagreement, though one Evangelist mentions one thing, and a second mentions another; how much less should a question be raised, when one mentions one, and another mentions that same one and another. It goes on: And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded, and they let them take it, that is, the colt.

THEOPHYLACT. But they would not have allowed this, if the Divine power had not been upon them, to compel them, especially, as they were country people and farmers, and yet allowed them to take away the colt. It goes on: And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) Not indeed that He was compelled by necessity to ride on a colt from the mount of Olives to Jerusalem, for He had gone over Judæa and all Galilee on foot, but this action of His is typical. It goes on: And many spread their garments in the way: that is, under the feet of the colt; and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 1This, however, was rather done to honour Him, and as a Sacrament, than of necessity. It goes on: And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 2For the multitude, until it was corrupted, knew what was its duty, for which reason each honoured Jesus according to his own strength. Wherefore they praised Him, and took up the hymns of the Levites, saying, Hosanna, which according to some is the same as save me, but according to others means a hymn. I however suppose the former to be more probable, for there is in the 117th Psalm, (Ps. 118:25) Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord, which in the Hebrew is Hosanna.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) But Hosanna is a Hebrew word, made out of two, one imperfect the other perfect. For save, or preserve, is in their language, hosy; but anna is a supplicatory interjection, as in Latin heu is an exclamation of grief.

PSEUDO-JEROME. They cry out Hosanna, that is save us, that men might be saved by Him who was blessed, and was a conqueror and came in the name of the Lord, that is, of His Father, since the Father is so called because of the Son, and the Son, because of the Father.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) Thus then they give glory to God, saying, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. They also bless the kingdom of Christ, saying, Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, which cometh.

THEOPHYLACT. But they called the kingdom of Christ, that of David, both because Christ was descended from the seed of David, and because David means a man of a strong hand. For whose hand is stronger than the Lord’s, by which so many and so great miracles were wrought.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) Wherefore also the prophets so often call Christ by the name of David, on account of the descent according to the flesh of Christ from David.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Now we read in the Gospel of John that He fled into a mountain, lest they should make him their king. Now, however, when He comes to Jerusalem to suffer, He does not shun those who call Him king, that He might openly teach them that He was King over an empire not temporal and earthly, but everlasting in the heavens, and that the path to this kingdom was through contempt of death. Observe also the agreement of the multitude with the saying of Gabriel, The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; (Luke 1:32) that is, that He Himself may call by word and deed to a heavenly kingdom the nation to which David once furnished the government of a temporal rule.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Cat. in Marc. Oxon.) And further, they give glory to God, when they add Hosanna in the highest, that is, praise and glory be to the God of all, Who is in the highest.

PSEUDO-JEROME. Or Hosanna, that is, save in the highest as well as in the lowest, that is, that the just be built on the ruin of Angels, and also that both those on the earth and those under the earth should be saved. In a mystical sense, also, the Lord approaches Jerusalem, which is ‘the vision of peace,’ in which happiness remains fixed and unmoved, being, as the Apostle says, the mother of all believers. (Gal. 4:26)

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Bethany again means the house of obedience, because by teaching many before His Passion, he made for Himself a house of obedience; and it is said to be placed on the mount of Olives, because He cherishes His Church with the unction of spiritual gifts, and with the light of piety and knowledge. But He sent His disciples to a hold1, which was over against them, that is, He appointed doctors to penetrate into the ignorant parts of the whole world, into, as it were, the walls of the hold placed against them.

PSEUDO-JEROME. The disciples of Christ are called two by two, and sent two by two, since charity implies more than one, as it is written, Woe to him that is alone. (Eccl. 4:10) Two persons lead the Israelites out of Egypt: two bring down the bunch of grapes from the Holy Land, that men in authority might ever join together activity and knowledge, and bring forward two commandments from the Two Tables, and be washed from two fountains, and carry the ark of the Lord on two poles, and know the Lord between the two Cherubim, and sing to Him with both mind and spirit.

THEOPHYLACT. The colt, however, was not necessary to Him, but He sent for it to shew that He would transfer Himself to the Gentiles.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) For the colt of the ass, wanton and unshackled, denotes the people of the nations, on whom no man had yet sat, because no wise doctor had, by teaching them the things of salvation, put upon them the bridle of correction, to oblige them to restrain their tongues from evil, or to compel them into the narrow path of life.

PSEUDO-JEROME. But they found the colt tied by the door without, because the Gentile people were bound by the chain of their sins before the door of faith, that is, without the Church.

AMBROSE. (in Luc. 9, 6) Or else, they found it bound before the door, because whosoever is not in Christ is without, in the way; but he who is in Christ, is not without. He has added in the way, or in a place where two ways meet, where there is no certain possession for any man, nor stall, nor food, nor stable; miserable is his service, whose rights are unfixed; for he who has not the one Master, has many. Strangers bind him that they may possess him, Christ looses him in order to keep him, for He knows that gifts are stronger ties than bonds.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Or else, fitly did the colt stand in a place where two ways meet, because the Gentile people did not hold on in any certain road of life and faith, but followed in its error many doubtful paths of various sects.

PSEUDO-JEROME. Or, in a place where two roads meet, that is, in the freedom of will, hesitating between life and death.

THEOPHYLACT. Or else, in a place where two roads meet, that is, in this life, but it was loosed by the disciples, through faith and baptism.

PSEUDO-JEROME. But some said, What do ye? as if they would say, Who can remit sins?

THEOPHYLACT. Or else, those who prevent them are the devils, who were weaker than the Apostles.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Or else, the masters of error, who resisted the teachers, when they came to save the Gentiles; but after that the power of the faith of the Lord appeared to believers, the faithful people were freed from the cavils of the adversaries, and were brought to the Lord, whom they bore in their hearts. But by the garments of the Apostles, which they put upon it, we may understand the teaching of virtues, or the interpretation of the Scriptures, or the various doctrines of the Church, by which they clothe the hearts of men, once naked and cold and fit them to become the seats of Christ.

PSEUDO-JEROME. Or else, they put upon it their garments, that is, they bring to them the first robe of immortality by the Sacrament of Baptism. And Jesus sat upon it, that is, began to reign in them, so that sin should not reign in their wanton flesh, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Again, many spread their garments in the way, under the feet of the foal of the ass. What are feet, but those who carry, and the least esteemed, whom the Apostle has set to judge? (v. 1 Cor. 6:4.) And these too, though they are not the back on which the Lord sat, yet are instructed by John with the soldiers.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Or else, many strew their garments in the way, because the holy martyrs put off from themselves the garment of their own flesh, and prepare a way for the more simple servants of God with their own blood. Many also strew their garments in the way, because they tame their bodies with abstinence, that they may prepare a way for God to the mount, or may give good examples to those who follow them. And they cut down branches from the trees, who in the teaching of the truth cull the sentences of the Fathers from their words, and by their lowly preaching scatter them in the path of God, when He comes into the soul of the hearer.

THEOPHYLACT. Let us also strew the way of our life with branches which we cut from the trees, that is, imitate the saints, for these are holy trees, from which, he who imitates their virtues cuts down branches.

PSEUDO-JEROME. For the righteous shall flourish as a palm tree, straitened in their roots, but spreading out wide with flowers and fruits; for they are a good odour unto Christ, and strew the way of the commandments of God with their good report. Those who went before are the prophets, and those who followed are the Apostles.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) And because all the elect, whether those who were able to become such in Judæa, or those who now are such in the Church, believed and now believe on the Mediator between God and man, both those who go before and those who follow cried out Hosanna.

THEOPHYLACT. But both those of our deeds which go before and those which follow after must be done to the glory of God; for some in their past life make a good beginning, but their following life does not correspond with their former, neither does it end to the glory of God.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000Commentary in public domain.

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