July 7 Gospel Reading

Matthew 14:35 – 15:11

Healing_sm [
35] And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they
sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all
that were diseased;[36] And besought him that they might only
touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made
perfectly whole.[1] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of
Jerusalem, saying,[2] Why do thy disciples transgress the
tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat
bread.[3] But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also
transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?[4] For
God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that
curseth father or mother, let him die the death.[5] But ye
say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by
whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;[6] And honour not
his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the
commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.[7] Ye
hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,[8] This
people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with
their lips; but their heart is far from me.[9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men.[10]
And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:[11]
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Origen in Book XI Commentary on Matthew wrote:

"…observe that they brought unto Him not only many that were sick, but all in that region round about; and the sick who were brought to Him besought Him that they might touch if it were only the border of His garment, beseeching this grace from him…those from the country round the land of Gennesaret…did not come of themselves to Jesus, but were brought by those who had sent the tidings, inasmuch as they were not able because of their extreme weakness to come of themselves."

(regarding v.8ff) "…wishing to refute completely from the words of the prophets all these traditions of the elders among the Jews, He brought before them a saying, from Isaiah (Is.29:13)…as we said before, Matthew has not written out the prophetical saying in the very words…He says that they honor Him with their lips, because their heart by reason of their unbelief in Jesus is far from the Lord…they no longer teach the precepts of God but of men, and doctrines which are human and no longer of the Spirit of wisdom…God has removed the people of the Jews, and has caused to perish the wisdom of the wise men among them…God has utterly destroyed the prudence of the prudent and concealed it, (Is.29:14) and no longer is it splendid and conspicuous.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily 51 on Matthew said:

(regarding v.8) "Do you see a prophecy in exact accordance with His sayings, and from the very first proclaiming beforehand their wickedness? For what Christ laid to their charge now, of this Isaiah also spoke from the very first; that the words of God they despise, 'for in vain do they worship me,' says He; but of their own they make much account, 'teaching,' says He, 'for doctrines the commandments of men.' Therefore with reason the disciples keep them not.

"…He proceeds to insert that which is greater, casting out also the observance of meats. But see when. When He had cleansed the leper, when He had repealed the Sabbath, when He had shown Himself King of earth and sea, when He had made laws, when He had remitted sins, when He had raised dead men, when He had afforded them many proofs of His Godhead, then He discourses of meats…all the religion of the Jews is comprised in this; if you take this away, you have even taken away all…He does by no means simply reveal it [His law] to them, but by respect and courtesy, first, He makes His saying acceptable (for this the evangelist declares by saying, 'He called them unto Him'): and secondly, by the time also; in that after their refutation, and His victory over them, and the accusation by the prophet, then He begins His legislation, when they too more easily receive His sayings…"


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