Friday, May 5, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd Lunette, Galla Placidia, Ravenna

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want. (Ps 23:1)

Having said in the psalm before this, “The needy eat and will be filled, and those who seek him out will praise the Lord,” and again, “All the prosperous of the earth ate and adored him,” here he suggests the the provider of such food and calls the feeder shepherd. This in fact is the name Christ the Lord gave himself: “I am the good shepherd, I know my own, and I am known by my own.”* It is also what he called himself through the prophet Ezekiel.† So here, too, all who enjoyed the saving food cry out, “The Lord shepherds me, and nothing will be wanting for me”: this shepherd regales those shepherded by him with enjoyment of good things of all kinds.

Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 23.1

* This reading comes from the Majority Text.
† Ezekiel 34:23.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (Jn 10:7-10)

Them that have fled for refuge to His ruling care, and through patient endurance have mended their wayward ways, He calls “sheep,” and confesses Himself to be, to them that hear His voice and refuse to give heed to strange teaching, a “shepherd.” For “my sheep,” He says, “hear my voice.” To them that have now reached a higher stage and stand in need of righteous royalty, He is a King. And in that, through the straight way of His commandments, He leads men to good actions, and again because He safely shuts in all who through faith in Him betake themselves for shelter to the blessing of the higher wisdom, He is a Door.

So He says, “By me if any man enter in, he shall go in and out and shall find pasture.” Again, because to the faithful He is a defense strong, unshaken, and harder to break than any bulwark, He is a Rock. Among these titles, it is when He is styled Door, or Way, that the phrase “through Him” is very appropriate and plain. As, however, God and Son, He is glorified with and together with the Father, in that “at, the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Therefore we use both terms, expressing by the one His own proper dignity, and by the other His grace to us.

Basil of Ceasarea, On the Holy Spirit 7

No comments: