« PreviousContinue »
false pleasures. The true Lover of our souls asks us to take a cross, and follow him. Hence the one comes back to Jesus in gratitude; while nine go on their way, and forget him.
LUKE XVII. 20—37
ate, they drank, they bought, ἠγόραζον, they sold, they planted, they ᾠκοδόμουν. builded;
29. But But in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it
rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all:
30. After the same manner shall it be in the day that the
Son of man is revealed.
31. In that day, he who shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away: and let him that is in the field
likewise not return back.
32. Remember Lot's wife.
33. Whosoever shall seek to gain his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his shall preserve it.
34. I say unto you: In that night there shall be two men on one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35. There shall be two women grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
37. And they answering say unto him: Where, Lord? And he said unto them: Where the body is, thither will the eagles also be gathered together.
Η δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων, ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ ̓ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἀπώλε σεν πάντας.
30. Κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτηται.
31. Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὃς ἔσται ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος, καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, μὴ καταδάτω ἆραι αὐτά: καὶ ὁ ἐν ἀγρῷ ὁμοίως μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω.
32. Μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ.
33. Ὃς ἐὰν ζητήσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ περιποιήσασθαι, ἀπολέσει αὐτήν: ὃς δ ̓ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ, ζωογονήσει αὐτήν.
34. Λέγω ὑμῖν, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ ἔσονται δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης, ὁ εἷς ταραλημφθήσεται, καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται.
35. Ἔσονται δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό: ἡ μία παραλημφθήσεται, ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα ἀφεθήσεται.
37. Καὶ ἀποκριθέντες λέγου σιν αὐτῷ: Πού, Κύριε; Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς: Ὅπου τὸ σῶμα, ἐκεῖ καὶ οἱ ἀετοὶ ἐπισυναχθήσονται.
In all the teaching of Jesus there is prominent the idea of a kingdom. Men could not understand the nature of the kingdom. They tried to imagine it as something of this world. Even the Apostles had difficulty in forming an idea of that kingdom. Even their contention as to who should be the
greater in the new kingdom shows how crude were their ideas concerning it.
The explanation of this fact is that the kingdom of Christ was not of this world. It is with difficulty that man allies himself to a spiritual world.
Now the Pharisees had heard of this great new kingdom, and they could not conceive its nature. It is impossible to ascertain what motive prompted their question. It may have been scorn and derision, as though they considered the Lord as a false pretender. Or it may have been a desire to draw from the Messiah some knowledge concerning this great theme.
In his answer Jesus tells them that they have not the right idea of the new kingdom. All Israel expected a kingdom; but they dreamed that it should be greater in earthly glory than Solomon's. The Pharisees prompted these ambitious hopes, and also dreamed of a pre-eminence. And Jesus tells them that the new kingdom is neither visible nor local. It is a spiritual creation. It exists in Heaven, and on earth. In its earthly existence it is in the souls of men. It would have temples, rites, a sacrifice, and a priesthood; but its essence would be a spiritual creation, which would fix its habitation in the souls of men.
The Lord did not assert that his kingdom were within the Pharisees, in the sense that the new creation were in their individual souls. Their false and wicked souls admitted not the spiritual kingdom of Christ. The Lord's meaning is that his kingdom is not like the kingdom of this world, whose glory the eyes of men can see; but his kingdom is spiritual, and fixes its earthly habitation in the souls of men. It was even then upon earth, for its author, from whom it derives its being, was dwelling among men. And so to-day the mighty powers of this kingdom are operating upon earth, and men are oblivious thereof. Foolish mortals make a great clamor with this world, as though it were the only world that exists; and yet this world will pass away, and the invisible world of Christ remains forever.
We should accustom our souls to think spiritually, so that by habit we easily lift ourselves into the contemplation of that
spiritual world, which alone is worthy of the thought and the labor of a man.
The Lord next directs his discourse to the disciples, and declares to them that the days should come, when they would desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and they should not see it. This prediction has the customary obscurity of prophecy. It relates to the interval between the Ascension of Jesus and his second coming. The length of that interval no man or no angel can tell. In general it is a time of persecution. Many times in the awful persecutions through which the Church passed, she lifted up her voice in pleading that the Lord might come. But he came not. He allowed his elect to suffer and to die, because the mystery of human suffering must serve as the preparation for the perfect life in the new kingdom.
The Lord next speaks of his second coming, telling them that it will be as sudden as the lightning. Wherever the second coming of Jesus is spoken of in Holy Scripture its awful suddenness is described. Nothing in nature could so aptly illustrate this event as the lightning, that lights up the whole heavens in an instant. Christ warns men not to believe any one who shall say that Christ is come in his second coming. This warning simply impressed more vividly the idea that his coming would be sudden.
The new kingdom would not be fully inaugurated until that day. It is now in a process of growth and formation. Before that day, must come first the suffering and death of Jesus; and then the ages of the world's life, ages of the world's predominance, and of the Church's suffering. The line stretches out far; but yet it has an end. The earth and the sea are full of waiting dead; but the promise of Jesus shall not fail. Ages more may come, ages of ages, but the course is finite, and the end must come. It is the world's greatest day. It may be to-morrow; it may be distant a million years. Men are not thinking of it now; and according to Christ's prediction, they will not be thinking of it when it comes. The flood came upon an incredulous and unexpecting world; in its secular pursuits, when the rain of came upon them, and destroyed them all. manner the Son of God shall come suddenly upon an unexpect
Sodom was engaged fire and brimstone And in the same
ing world. This state of mind is born of unbelief. The first sin of man is unbelief. He puts these things aside into the realm of mystery, and turns to the things that he considers realities, the world and its creatures. He turns away from the eternal realities to pursue after shadows, and there he will be found even on the last day of the world's life, pursuing after shadows.
When Lot and his wife and two daughters were fleeing from Sodom, the angels said unto them: "Look not behind thee." This was a test of their faith. All their possessions were burning in the doomed city, and naturally they felt the sense of loss in their destruction. This moved the wife of Lot to look behind her, and she became a pillar of salt (Gen. XIX. 17-26.).
Now the Lord teaches men that such attachment to the things of earth will be equally deadly in the last day. To aid man to conceive a salutary fear of that day he likens it to a sudden catastrophe that comes upon men so suddenly that they flee from the spot without regard to any of their goods. These goods are of no use to man any more. He must appear before God in another world, while these earthly goods pass through that awful change whose nature is sunk in mystery.
All these things are said to relax man's hold on the things that enslave his soul. Why should he so tenaciously hold to things which at any instant he might be called to leave, and which at some definite instant he inevitably must leave?
The thirty-third verse has been fully explained in our Commentary of its parallel passages Matt. X. 39; Mark VIII. 35.
The Lord next proceeds to portray graphically the terrible discrimination of the elect from the reprobate. Two men are sleeping on one bed. The lightning of Jesus' coming flashes, and one man is taken up to meet Jesus, and to be with him forever; the other is left in hell.
The Vulgate adds the example of two men in the field, of whom one is taken with the elect; the other is left with the reprobate. This sentence is not found in the great uncial codices. D and U have it, and also Tatian's Diatessaron, the Syriac versions, and the Armenian version. We believe that