Tuesday, 23 September 2014

St Luke 23:44-56

St Luke 23:44-56:

4 Erat autem fere hora sexta, et tenebræ factæ sunt in universam terram usque ad horam nonam. 45 Et obscuratus est sol, et velum templi scissum est medium. 46 Et clamans voce magna Jesus ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. Et hæc dicens, expiravit. 47 Videns autem centurio quod factum fuerat, glorificavit Deum, dicens: Vere hic homo justus erat. 48 Et omnis turba eorum, qui simul aderant ad spectaculum istud, et videbant quæ fiebant, percutientes pectora sua revertebantur.49 Stabant autem omnes noti ejus a longe, et mulieres, quæ secutæ eum erant a Galilæa, hæc videntes. 50 Et ecce vir nomine Joseph, qui erat decurio, vir bonus et justus: 51 hic non consenserat consilio, et actibus eorum: ab Arimathæa civitate Judææ, qui exspectabat et ipse regnum Dei: 52 hic accessit ad Pilatum et petiit corpus Jesu: 53 et depositum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat. 54 Et dies erat parasceves, et sabbatum illucescebat. 55 Subsecutæ autem mulieres, quæ cum eo venerant de Galilæa, viderunt monumentum, et quemadmodum positum erat corpus ejus. 56 Et revertentes paraverunt aromata, et unguenta: et sabbato quidem siluerunt secundum mandatum.

[44] And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. [45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.[46] And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost. [47] Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. [48] And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. [49] And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. [50] And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man,[51] (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [53] And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. [54] And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
[54] Parasceve: That is, the eve, or day of preparation for the sabbath.[56] And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

Commentary

Ver. 46.—Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. The Arabic has pono, Tertullian depono (cont. Prax. cap. xxv.). The Hebrew word Hiphid means the same as our “commend.” “My Spirit.”  S. Athanasius in his work De Human. Nat. cont. Apollin., says, “When Christ said on the cross, Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit, He commends all men to the Father, to be, by Him and through Him, restored to life; for we are members, and those many members are one body, which is the Church. He commends therefore all who are in Him to God.” Christ therefore, according to S. Athanasius, calls men His soul and spirit. What then ought we not to do to profit and save souls, that we may keep as it were for Christ, His soul and spirit? So S. Paul to Philemon and Onesimus, “His bowels.” “He gave His life,” says S. Cyril, “into the hands of His Father (Lib. ii on John chap. xxxvi.), that by this and through this, as a beginning, we might have certain hope of this, firmly believing that we shall be in the hands of God after our death.” So Victor Antiochus on S. Mark, “This recommendation of Christ tends to the good of our souls, which, when freed from the bodies previously inhabited by them, He gave by these words, as a kind of deposit, into the hands of the living God.” And Euthymius: “God did this for us, that the souls of the just should not henceforth go down into hell, but should rather ascend to God.” He cites Ps. xxxi. 5, when David, afflicted and in danger of death, spoke as much in his own person as in that of Christ and said, “into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” And, from this, the Church daily uses the same Psalm and verse, and sings it in the Compline at night, to teach us, when we retire to rest, to commend our souls to God, because at night we run many risks of sudden death. The dying use the same words, as did S. Nicholas, Louis King of France, and S. Basil. S. Basil did it in the presence of angels, who brought him away; as S. Gregory Nazianzen testifies in his oration on him.  S. Stephen also cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

By these words we testify—1. That at our birth we received our souls, not from our father and mother, but from God alone; and that we therefore give Him back the same, as His own creatures. 2. That we believe that our souls do not die at our death, but survive and are immortal, and return to God who gave them and who will judge them. 3. That we believe in the resurrection of the flesh. For in death we commend our souls to God that He may keep them, as it were as a deposit, and restore them again at the resurrection to our bodies. 4. That in the last agony which we undergo, most bitterly, from the devils, we implore the assistance of God, that in giving back our souls to Him, we may overcome and triumph over the devil. Hence many think that each of us has his own peculiar devil, who appears to the dying in some terrible form, and tempts them to despair, and to other sins, as he did to S. Martha and others, but not to all. S. Ephrem seems to think this in his sermon on those who sleep in Christ. S. Chrysostom (Hom. 34 on S. Matt.), and others whom our own Lorinus cites on Eccles viii. 8. Many think the same of Christ. Hence Eusebius (Demonstrat. Lib. iv. cap. ult.) understands Christ’s words, Ps. xxii. 12, “Many strong bulls of Basan have beset me round,” of devils whom Christ saw, mocking Him on the cross as a criminal and wicked, and insulting Him for His crucifixion and impending death. Habakkuk seems to support this idea, iii. 5: “Burning coals” (diabolus) went forth at His feet;” and S. John, xiv. 30: “The prince of this world cometh, and he hath nothing in Me.” Christ lays down His Spirit therefore into the hands of God, certain that no one can sever Him from it. For God is a most faithful and strong protector. So S. Jerome on Psalm xxxi. 5, “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” That is, “into Thy power.” This example the Church received from Christ, and S. Stephen followed it. The saints when departing, use the same words; as the following: “They commend their souls to the faithful Creator for His good acts;” our Lord said this, when hanging on the cross, commending His Spirit to the hands of the Father as being to receive it again at the resurrection.

Symbolically, Didymus in his Catena on Psalm xxxi. “The spirit is threefold—1. Our thought. 2. Our soul. 3. Our conscience. These three we ought to commend to God.”
And having said thus, He gave up the ghost. The Syriac. “He said this, and ended,” His life, that is. The Arabic, “And when He had said this He gave up His Spirit.” This was a certain sign that He was the Son of God the Father, who was called upon by Him, and that the Father heard the cry of the Son and received His soul. “For when He had said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit;’ then, at last, He suffered death to come to Him.” Says Euthymius, on Matt. xxvii: “As certainly knowing that the spirit, placed in His hands as a deposit, the Father would keep securely, and would give back in the resurrection on the third day. Firm in this hope He gladly and with alacrity rendered up His Spirit to the Father.”

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