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The Fathers of the Church on Jesus making arrangements for the Last Supper

5 min • Digitized on January 18, 2022

From The Catena Aurea, in file "Catena Aurea - Matthew Vol 3", page 885
By St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church

17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?

18. And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.

19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Gloss. The Evangelist having gone through the events preliminary to the Passion, namely, the announcement of it, the counsel of the Chief Priests, and the covenant for His betrayal, prosecutes the history in the order of events, saying, On the first day of unleavened bread.

Jerome; The first day of unleavened bread is the fourteenth day of the first month, when the lamb is killed, the moon is at full, and leaven is put away.

Remig. And observe that with the Jews, the Passover is celebrated on the first day, and the following seven are called the days of unleavened bread; but here the first day of unleavened bread means the day of the Passover.

Chrys. Or, by the first day, he means the day before the days of unleavened bread. For the Jews always reckoned their day from the evening; and this day of which he speaks was that on the evening of which they were to kill the Passover, namely, the fifth day of the week.

Remig. But perhaps some one will say, If that typical lamb bore a type of this the true lamb, how did not Christ suffer on the night on which this was always killed?

It is to be noted, that on this night, He committed to His disciples the mysteries of His flesh and blood to be celebrated, and then also being seized and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the commencement of His sacrifice, i. e. His Passion. The disciples came unto him; among these no doubt was the traitor Judas.

Chrys. Hence it is evident that He had neither house nor lodging. Nor, I conclude, had the disciples any, for they would surely have invited Him thither.

Aug. Go into the city to such a man, Him whom Mark and Luke call the good-man of the home, or the master of the house. And when Matthew says, to such a man, he is to be understood to say this as from himself for brevity’s sake; for every one knows that no man speaks thus, Go ye to such a man. And Matthew adds these words, to such a man, not that the Lord used the very expression, but to convey to us that the disciples were not sent to any one in the city, but to some certain person.

Chrys. Or, we may say that this, to such a man, shews that He sent them to some person unknown to them, teaching them thereby that He was able to avoid His Passion. For He who prevailed with this man to entertain Him, how could He not have prevailed with those who crucified Him, had He chosen not to suffer? Indeed, I marvel not only that he entertained Him, being a stranger, but that he did it in contempt of the hatred of the multitude.

Hilary; Or, Matthew does not name the man in whose house Christ would celebrate the Passover, because the Christian name was not yet held in honour by the believers.

Raban. Or, he omits the name, that all who would fain celebrate the true Passover, and receive Christ within the dwelling place of their own minds, should understand that the opportunity is afforded them.

Jerome; In this also the New Scripture observes the practice of the Old, in which we frequently read, ‘He said unto him,’ and ‘In this or that place,’ without any name of person or place.

Chrys. My time is at hand, this He said, both by so manifold announcements of His Passion, fortifying His disciples against the event, and at the same time shewing that He undertook it voluntarily. I will keep the Passover at thy house, wherein we see, that to the very last day He was not disobedient to the Law. With my disciples, He adds, that there might be sufficient preparation made, and that he to whom He sent might not think that He desired to be concealed.

Origen; Some one may argue, that because Jesus kept the Passover with Jewish observances, we ought to do the same as followers of Christ, not remembering that Jesus was made under the Law, though not that He should leave under the Law those who were under it, but should lead them out of it; how much less fitting then is it, that those who before were without the Law, should afterwards enter in? We celebrate spiritually the things which were carnally celebrated in the Law, keeping the Passover in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, according to the will of the Lamb, who said, Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall not have life in you.

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