posted on Sep 01, 2011 - 05:51 PM
Cyril of Alexandria: Stand apart from the inclination to love sin and to love the flesh. Turn to deeds worthy of praise. Draw near to me, so that you may become sharers of the divine nature and partakers of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called everyone, not only the people of Israel. As the Maker and Lord of all, he spoke to the weary Jews who did not have the strength to bear the yoke of the law. He spoke to idolaters heavy laden and oppressed by the devil and weighed down by the multitude of their sins. To Jews he said, “Obtain the profit of my coming to you. Bow down to the truth. Acknowledge your Advocate and Lord. I set you free from bondage under the law, bondage in which you endured a great deal of toil and hardship, unable to accomplish it easily and accumulating for yourselves a very great burden of sins.” Fragment 149.
John Chrysostom: He said not, Come you, this man and that man, but all whosoever are in trouble, in sorrow, or in sin, not that I may exact punishment of you, but that I may remit your sins. Come you, not that I have need of your glory, but that I seek your salvation. And I will refresh you. Not, I will save you, only; but that is much greater, I will then refresh you, that is, I will set you in all quietness... And therefore in beginning the Divine Law He begins with humility, and sets before us a great reward, saying, And you shall find rest for your souls. This is the highest reward, you shall not only be made useful to others, but shall make yourself to have peace; and He gives you the promise of it before it comes, but when it is come, you shall rejoice in perpetual rest. And that they might not be afraid because He had spoken of a burden, therefore He adds, For my yoke is pleasant, and my burden light.
Hilary of Poitiers: He holds forth the inducements of a pleasant yoke, and a light burden, that to them that believe He may afford the knowledge of that good which He alone knows in the Father... And what is more pleasant than that yoke, what lighter than that burden? To be made better, to abstain from wickedness, to choose the good, and refuse the evil, to love all men, to hate none, to gain eternal things, not to be taken with things present, to be unwilling to do that to another which yourself would be pained to suffer.
Jerome: And how is the Gospel lighter than the Law, seeing in the Law murder and adultery, but under the Gospel anger and concupiscence also, are punished? Because by the Law many things are commanded which the Apostle fully teaches us cannot be fulfilled; by the Law works are required, by the Gospel the will is sought for, which even if it goes not into act, yet does not lose its reward. The Gospel commands what we can do, as that we lust not; this is in our own power; the Law punishes not the will but the act, as adultery Suppose a virgin to have been violated in time of persecution, as here was not the will she is held as a virgin under the Gospel; under the Law she is cast out as defiled.
Gregory the Great: For a cruel yoke and hard weight of servitude it is to be subject to the things of time, to be ambitious of the things of earth, to cling to falling things, to seek to stand in things that stand not, to desire things that pass away, but to be unwilling to pass away with them. For while all things fly away against our wish, those things which had first harassed the mind in desire of gaining them, now oppress it with fear of losing them.