Albert & Thomas: Selected Writings

By St. Thomas Aquinas; Albert the Great et al. | Go to book overview

From the Lectures on St. John

John 16:23

On that day you will not ask anything of me. Truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for something in my name, he will give it to you.

"On that day you will not ask anything of me." According to Augustine, the Greek for "ask" here is a word which can mean either "ask for something" or "ask a question about something," 1. so "on that day you will not ask anything of me" can be understood in two ways: you will not ask me for anything, or you will not put any questions to me.

So he says, "On that day." What that day is is shown by what has gone before (16:22): "I shall see you again," which can be taken either as referring to his resurrection or to our vision of him in glory.

Chrysostom takes it in the first way: "On that day," that is, when I rise from the dead, "you will not ask anything of me," that is, you will not say things like, "Show us the Father." 2. But Augustine raises a difficulty about this interpretation: after the resurrection the apostles say, "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6), 3. and Peter says, "And what about him?" (John 21:21).

But in support of Chrysostom's interpretation we must say that by "that day" the Lord means not only the day of his resurrection, but also the day on which they were to be instructed by the Holy Spirit. "When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will teach you all truth" (John 16:13). Speaking like this about "that day," without making distinctions, he includes the coming of the Holy Spirit in it.

____________________
1.
Augustine, Tr. in Ev. Io. 101.4. As it happens, Augustine is correct.
2.
Chrysostom, Hom. Io. 79.1-2 (PG 59:428). Thomas had produced a précis of this passage in the Catena Aurea on John 16:23, and he is probably using his own précis here. Before him, all that Thomas takes from Chrysostom had already been used by Hugh of St. Cher in his postil.
3.
Augustine, loc. cit.

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