HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Commentary Upon The Gospel According To Saint Luke -St. Cyril

In that day, he who is upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to carry them away: and he who is in the field, let him in like manner not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose it, shall save it alive. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at a mill together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answer and say unto Him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Where the body is, there will also the eagles be gathered.

THE sacred Scripture has somewhere said, “Prepare thy works for thy departure, and make thyself ready for the field.” Now by our departure I imagine is meant our going from this world, and removal hence. For this time must of course overtake every one: for, as the Psalmist says, “What man is there that shall live and not see death, and that can save his soul from the hand of hell?” For the nature of man was condemned in Adam, and fell away unto corruption, because he foolishly transgressed the commandment given him. But those who are careless and contemptuous, lead a shameful and pleasure-loving life, not even perhaps admitting into their mind the thought of the world to come, and the hope prepared for the saints, nor feeling moreover any alarm at the torment that is appointed for those who love sin. But those who embrace a virtuous life rejoice in labours for probity’s sake, bidding, so to speak, farewell to the desire after earthly things, and paying but slight attention to the vain turmoil of the world.

To a purpose thus excellent, and a proportionate earnestness the Saviour bids us hold fast, thus saying; “In that day he who is upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to carry them away: and he who is in the field, let him in like manner not return back.” He was speaking of the last day, that is, of the end of this world; “for as it was, He said, in the days of Noah and Lot; they were eating, and drinking, and were taking wives, and being made the wives of men, until the flood came; and upon Sodom fire descended, and destroyed them all: so shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Strengthening them therefore for the remembrance of the last day, and the final time, He commands them to disregard all earthly and temporal matters, and look only unto one end, the duty namely of every one saving his soul. “He therefore, He says, that is upon the housetop, let him not go down to the house to carry away his goods.” And in these words He apparently means the man who is at ease, living in wealth and worldly glory: for always those that stand upon the housetops are conspicuous in the eyes of them who are round about the house. If therefore, He says, there be any one in this condition, let him at that time make no account of the goods stored up in his house. For vain henceforth are such things, and unavailing to his advantage. For, as it is written, “Treasures profit not the wicked: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

But even “if any one be, He says, in the field, in like manner let him not return back.” That is, if any one be found devoted to industry, and occupied in labours, earnestly desirous of spiritual fruitfulness, and gathering the wages of virtuous toil, let him hold firmly to this diligence: “let him not return back:” for, as Christ Himself again has somewhere said, “No man that putteth his hand to the plough, and turneth back, is fit also for the kingdom of heaven.” For it is our duty to maintain our religious exertions without wavering, and to persevere in them with undaunted wills, lest we suffer some such fate as befel the woman at Sodom, taking whom as an example, He says, “Remember Lot’s wife.” For when she had been rescued from Sodom, but would afterwards have returned, she became a pillar of salt, became, that is, foolish and stonelike.

On that day therefore, He says, and at that time, both those who are accustomed to live in luxury must entirely abstain from such pride, and readily labour, in order that they may save themselves: and in like manner those who are industrious, and honour useful exertion, must bravely hold to the mark that has been set before them. “For whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose it, shall save it alive.”

But the way in which a man loses his life that he may save it, and how he who imagines that he is saving loses it, Paul clearly shews, where he says of the saints, “They that are Jesus Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” For those who have really become true [followers] of Christ our common Saviour, crucify their flesh, and put it to death, by being constantly engaged in labours and struggles unto piety, and by mortifying its natural desire. For it is written, “Mortify your members that are upon earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness.” But those who love a voluptuous course of life, imagine probably that they are gaining their soul by living in pleasure and effeminacy: whereas certainly they lose it. “For he that soweth, it says, to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption.”

But on the other hand, whosoever loses his life shall of a certainty save it. This the blessed martyrs did, enduring conflicts even unto blood and life, and placing on their heads as their crown their true love unto Christ. But those who, from weakness of resolution and mind, denied the faith, and fled from the present death of the flesh, became their own murderers: for they will go down into hell to suffer the penalties of their wicked cowardice. For the Judge shall descend from heaven: and those who with all their heart have loved Him, and earnestly practised entire virtuousness of life, He will call, saying, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world.” But those who have led careless and dissolute lives, nor maintained the glory of faith in Him, on them will He pass a severe and overwhelming sentence, saying unto them, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.”

This He teaches us by saying, “In that night there shall be two men in one bed: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. Two women shall be grinding at a mill together, the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Now by the two who are in one bed, He seems to hint at those who live in rest and plenty, and are equal to one another, as far as regards their being possessed of worldly affluence: for the bed is the symbol of rest. “But one of them, He says, shall be taken, and one shall be left.” How, or in what manner? It is because not all those who are possessed of wealth and ease in this world are wicked and merciless. For what if a man be rich, but be gentle and merciful, and not destitute of the praise of compassion upon the poor; if he be ready to share his wealth with others, and affable of address; thoroughly liberal and sober-minded; upright in the faith, and of an urgent zeal for piety; if too, according to the Saviour’s expression, he have made for himself friends by his use of the unrighteous mammon, this man is taken: but the other, who was not thus minded, shall be left.

“Two women, He says, shall be grinding at a mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” And by these again He seems to mean such as live in poverty and labour: but even in these, He says, there is a certain vast difference. For some have borne the burden of poverty manfully, honouring a sober and virtuous course of life: while others have been of a different character, crafty for every wicked practice, and the contrivers of all baseness. There will be therefore even in their case a full and exact investigation of their manners, and he that is good will be taken, and he that is not so will be left.

As Christ however, our common Saviour, had used the expression “shall be taken,” the disciples usefully and necessarily ask, “Whither, Lord? And He said unto them, Where the body is, there will also the eagles be gathered.” And what does this mean? By the use of a common and very plain fact, He hints at a great and profound mystery. And what is this? That He shall descend from heaven “to judge the world in righteousness.” But, as He Himself says, “He will send; His angels, and they shall choose the righteous and the holy from among the sinners, and bring them near unto Him:” but those others they will leave on earth, as doomed to torment and condemned to the punishment which is by fire.

Something to this effect the very wise Paul also declares, where he writes, “For I say unto you, that we who are left alive shall not arrive before those who have slept. Suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For it shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise incorruptible: and we who are left alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Just therefore, He says, as when a dead corpse is exposed, carnivorous birds assemble unto it; so when the Son of man shall appear, then certainly shall the eagles, even those who fly aloft, and rise superior to earthly and worldly things, hasten to Him.

And He calls the time of judgment night, because, as I imagine, of His advent being unknown and unexpected. For we remember also one of the holy prophets crying out to them who love sin, and saying, “Woe unto them that desire the day of the Lord! What will the day of the Lord be unto you? and it is darkness and not light; and thick darkness that hath no brightness in it.” And again, Christ Himself has somewhere said to the holy apostles: “I must work the works of Him That sent Me while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” And one also of the holy apostles wrote, “The day of the Lord cometh as a thief,” that is, without being foreknown.

In order therefore that we may be taken by Christ, let us abandon all earthly anxieties, and devote ourselves to every kind of good work. For so will He accept us, and make us His own, and crown us with honours from on high: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com