Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew is a translation of St. Thomas Aquinas’ lectures on the Gospel of St. Matthew given in Paris in approximately the year 1270. This is the first ever English translation of this major work. It is a useful commentary, especially as an aid for preaching sermons. Numerous explanations and cross references to other works of St. Thomas are given in the text. St. Thomas is a master of Scripture and the Church Fathers, which are continuously interwoven in this simple but profoundly enlightening text.
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“The first parable is about the virgins, and these parables are apt to exercise men’s minds. And in this parable, three things ought to be considered. Firstly, the preparation of certain persons disposing themselves so that they might reign with Christ; secondly, the calling to the Judgment is related; and thirdly, the coming of the Judgment is related.” (Pages 802–803)
“Others believe that perfect beatitude consists in this, that man satisfies his own will” (Page 142)
“for by faith the heart is purified; ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’ (Acts 15:9).” (Page 154)
“He gives to understand that He is not seen except by the heart, that is to say, by the intellect: for in such a way is the heart understood here, just as it is also understood in Ephesians 1:18: ‘The eyes of your heart having been enlightened.’ Secondly, it is not suitable, because the sense of the eye cannot function except on its own object; if, however, it be said that then it will have greater power, it must be said that it would not then be corporeal vision, because the corporeal eye does not see unless it sees colors; it sees the essence indirectly [per accidens], according to Augustine, in the last book of The City of God, chapter 19.” (Page 153)
“Now he describes Him when he says, Christ, that is ‘anointed.’ Observe, however, that there were three anointings in the Old Law. For Aaron was anointed as a priest (Lev. 8). Saul was anointed by Samuel as a king in 1 Kings 10. And David was so-anointed in 1 Kings 16. Eliseus was anointed as a prophet in 3 Kings 19. Therefore, because Christ was a true priest, as it is said in Psalm 109, verse 4: ‘Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech,’ etc., and a king and a prophet: for that reason He is rightly called Christ, on account of the three offices which He exercised.” (Page 9)
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) entered the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino at the age of five to begin his studies. He was transferred to the University of Naples at age 16, where he became acquainted with the revival of Aristotle and the Order of the Dominicans. Aquinas went on to study in Cologne in 1244 and Paris in 1245. He then returned to Cologne in 1248, where he became a lecturer.
Aquinas’s career as a theologian took him all over Europe. In addition to regularly lecturing and teaching in cities throughout Europe, Aquinas participated regularly in public life and advised both kings and popes. Thomas Aquinas also profoundly influenced the history of Protestantism. He wrote prolifically on the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the theological and philosophical issues which defined the Reformation.