Homilies on Luke: Fragments on Luke

By Joseph T. Lienhard; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY 23 Luke 3.9-12

On the passage from, "Behold, the ax has been laid to the root of the trees," up to the point where it says, "But publicans also came to be baptized by him."

AT THAT TIME John was already saying, "Behold, the ax has been laid to the root of the trees."1. And, if indeed the consummation were imminent and the end of the ages were at hand, I would have no questions. The Gospel says, "Behold, the ax has been laid to the root of the trees," and, "Hence every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire."2. I would say that these prophecies were uttered because they were being fulfilled at that time. But, since long ages passed afterwards, and countless years have gone by from that time until the present day, we should ask how the Holy Spirit could say through the prophet, "Behold, the ax has been laid to the root of the trees." I think the prophecy applies to the people of Israel. That people was soon to be cut away. For, "to those who were going out" to him "to be baptized," John said, among other things, "bear fruits worthy of repentance."3. And to the Jews he kept saying, "Do not begin to say among yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father.' For, I say to you, God can raise up sons for Abraham from these stones."4. So, when he says, "Behold, the ax has been laid to the root of the trees," he is speaking to the Jews.

2. The apostolic word also fits this sense. The author says that the branches of infidelity have been broken off and cut down by this ax. The goal was to cut off from the tree, not the

____________________
1.
Lk 3.9.
2.
Lk 3.9.
3.
Lk 3.7-8.
4.
Lk 3.8.

-97-

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Homilies on Luke: Fragments on Luke
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Title Page vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Select Bibliography xi
  • Introduction xv
  • Homilies on Luke 1
  • Preface of Jerome the Presbyter 3
  • Homily 1 Luke 1.1-4 5
  • Homily 2 Luke 1.6 10
  • Homily 3 Luke 1.11 14
  • Homily 4 Luke 1.13-17 17
  • Homily 5 Luke 1.22 20
  • Homily 6 Luke 1.24-32 23
  • Homily 7 Luke 1.39-45 28
  • Homily 8 Luke 1.46-51 33
  • Homily 9 Luke 1.56-64 37
  • Homily 10 Luke 1.67-76 40
  • Homily 11 Luke 1.80-2.2 44
  • Homily 12 Luke 2.8-11 48
  • Homily 13 Luke 2.13-16 52
  • Homily 14 Luke 2.21-24 56
  • Homily 15 Luke 2.25-29 62
  • Homily 16 Luke 2.33-34 65
  • Homily 17 Luke 2.33-38 70
  • Homily 18 Luke 2.40-49 76
  • Homily 19 Luke 2.40.4-6 80
  • Homily 20 Luke 2.49-51 84
  • Homily 21 Luke 3.1-4 88
  • Homily 22 Luke 3.5-8 92
  • Homily 23 Luke 3.9-12 97
  • Homily 24 Luke 3.15-16 103
  • Homily 25 Luke 3.15 105
  • Homily 26 Luke 3. 16-17 109
  • Homily 27 Luke 3.18-22 112
  • Homily 28 Luke 3.23-38 115
  • Homily 29 Luke 4.1-4 119
  • Homily 30 Luke 4.5-8 123
  • Homily 31 Luke 4.9-12 125
  • Homily 32 Luke 4.14-20 130
  • Homily 33 Luke 4.23-27 134
  • Homily 34 Luke 10.25-37 137
  • Homily 35 Luke 12.57-59 142
  • Homily 36 Luke 17.20-21, 33 151
  • Homily 37 Luke 19.29-40 153
  • Homily 38 Luke 19.41-45 156
  • Homily 39 Luke 20.21-40 159
  • Fragments on Luke 163
  • Indices 229
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