Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

By Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview

TRACTATE 119

On John 19.24-30

WHEN THE LORD was crucified, after the division of his garments and the casting of the lot was also completed, let us see what John the Evangelist tells next. "And the soldiers indeed," he says, "did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister, Mary, [the wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he says to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then he says to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own." This, of course, is that hour about which Jesus, just before he turned the water into wine, had said to his mother, "What is that to me and to you? My hour has not yet come."1. And so he had predicted that hour which then had not yet come at which, about to die, he ought to acknowledge her from whom he was mortally born. Then therefore, as he was about to perform divine deeds, he rebuffed as though unknown the mother, not of his divinity, but of his weakness; but now, enduring human sufferings, with human affection he commended her from whom he had been made man. For then he who had created Mary was making himself known by power, but now That to which Mary had given birth was hanging on a cross.

2. A passage of moral import is, therefore, inserted. He does what he advises ought to be done, and by his example the Good Teacher instructed his own [disciples] that care should be accorded by dutiful children to their parents, as though that wooden cross, where were fixed the members of him who was dying, was also the chair of the Master who was teaching. From this sound doctrine the Apostle Paul had learned what he taught when he said, "But if anyone does not provide for

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1.
Jn 2.4. See Tractate 8.8-12.

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