Thursday, May 16, 2013

"The Lord himself is signified" - Augustine's Christological reading of the Good Samaritan

A great post from catholicity and covenant today.  He's referring to the Church of Ireland here, but TEC has the same Daily Office reading today.  Sometimes Augustine's allegorical readings get on my nerves - but this one is fantastic!  
Today the CofI daily office lectionary NT reading for MP was the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It is appropriate, therefore, to revisit Augustine's Christological reading of the Good Samaritan, reminding us that the parable - rather than being a moralistic addendum - coheres with and flows from the Church's proclamation of the Cross and Resurrection:

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho; Adam himself is meant; Jerusalem is the heavenly city of peace, from whose blessedness Adam fell; Jericho means the moon, and signifies our mortality, because it is born, waxes, wanes, an dies. Thieves are the devil and his angels. Who stripped him, namely; of his immortality; and beat him, by persuading him to sin; and left him half-dead, because in so far as man can understand and know God, he lives, but in so far as he is wasted and oppressed by sin, he is dead; he is therefore called half-dead. The priest and the Levite who saw him and passed by, signify the priesthood and ministry of the Old Testament which could profit nothing for salvation. Samaritan means Guardian, and therefore the Lord Himself is signified by this name. The binding of the wounds is the restraint of sin. Oil is the comfort of good hope; wine the exhortation to work with fervent spirit. The beast is the flesh in which He deigned to come to us. The being set upon the beast is belief in the incarnation of Christ. The inn is the Church, where travelers returning to their heavenly country are refreshed after pilgrimage. The morrow is after the resurrection of the Lord. The two pence are either the two precepts of love, or the promise of this life and of that which is to come.

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