Saturday, 1 March 2014

St Matthew 24

The New Advent page for Matthew 24 can be found here.  Verses 15 to 35 are the Gospel for the Last Sunday after Pentecost, and is a warning of the destruction of the Temple and the end times.

And once again, we have a reference to the sign of the fig-tree:

32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree, When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh:
33. So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34. Verily I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The Catena Aurea on this:

CHRYS. Because He had said that these things should come to pass immediately after the tribulation of those days, they might ask, How long time hence? He therefore gives them an instance in the fig. 

JEROME; As much as to say, When the tender shoots first show themselves in the stem of the fig tree, and the bud bursts into flower, and the bark puts forth leaves, you perceive the approach of summer and the season of spring and growth; so when you shall see all these things that are written, do not suppose that the end of the world is immediate, but that certain monitory signs and precursors are showing its approach. 

CHRYS. He shows that the interval of time shall not be great, but that the coming of Christ will be presently. By the comparison of the tree He signifies the spiritual summer and peace that the just shall enjoy after their winter, while sinners on the other hand shall have a winter after summer. 

ORIGEN; As the fig has its vital powers torpid within it through the season of winter, but when that is past its branches become tender by those very powers and put forth leaves; so the world and all those who are saved had before Christ's coming their vital energies dormant within them as in a season of winter. Christ's Spirit breathing upon them makes the branches of their hearts soft and tender, and that which was dormant within burgeons into leaf, and makes show of fruit. To such the summer and the coming of the glory of the Word of God is nigh at hand. 

CHRYS. This analogy also adds credit to His foregoing discourse; for wherever He speaks of what must by all means come to pass, Christ ever brings forward parallel physical laws. 

AUG. That now from the Evangelic and Prophetic signs that we see come to pass, we ought to look that the Lord's coming should be nigh, who is there that denies? For daily it draws ever more and more near, but of the exact time it is said, It is not for you to know the times, or the seasons. See how long ago the Apostle said, Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. What he spoke was not false, and yet how many years have elapsed, how much more may we not say that the Lord's coming is at hand now, that so great an accession of time has been made?

HILARY; Mystically; The Synagogue is likened to the fig tree; its branch is Antichrist, the son of the Devil, the portion of sin, the maintainer of the law; when this shall begin to swell and to put forth leaves, then summer is nigh, i.e. the approach of the day of judgment shall be perceived. 

REMIG. Or, when this fig shall again bud, that is, when the synagogue shall receive the word of holy preaching, as the preaching of Enoch and Elias, then we ought to understand that the day of the consummation is at hand. 

AUG. Or, by the fig tree understand the human race, by reason of the temptations of the flesh. When its branch is tender i.e. when the sons of men through faith in Christ have progressed towards spiritual fruits, and the honor of their adoption to be the sons of God has shone forth in them.

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