Sermo in Monte
The Sermon on the Mount
Christus montem ascendit
Christ ascends the mountain
5:1 Videns autem Iesus turbas, ascendit in montem: et cum sedisset, accesserunt ad eum discipuli eius. [n. 396]
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up onto a mountain, and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. [n. 396]
5:2 Et aperiens os suum docebat eos, dicens: [n. 401]
5:2 And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: [n. 401]
396. Videns autem Iesus turbas. Hic Dominus suam doctrinam proponit: et dividitur in partes tres.
396. And seeing the multitudes. Here the Lord sets forth his own teaching; and it is divided into three parts.
In prima ponitur doctrina Christi;
In the first, Christ’s teaching is set forth;
in secunda ponitur virtus doctrinae;
in the second, the power of the teaching;
in tertia finis ad quem perducit.
in the third, the end to which it leads.
Secundum in cap. XIII; tertium in cap. XVII.
The second is in chapter thirteen; the third, in chapter seventeen.
Prima dividitur in tres.
The first is divided into three parts.
In secunda instruuntur ministri doctrinae;
In the second, the ministers of the teaching are instructed;
in tertia confunduntur adversarii.
in the third, adversaries are confounded.
Secunda in cap. X; tertia in capite XI.
The second is in chapter ten; the third, in chapter eleven.
Prima dividitur in duas.
The first is divided into two parts.
In prima proponitur doctrina Christi;
In the first, Christ’s teaching is set forth;
in secunda confirmatur per miracula, in cap. VIII.
in the second, it is confirmed by miracles, in chapter eight.
Prima in duas.
The first, into two parts.
In prima praemittitur quasi quidam titulus ad doctrinam;
In the first, a certain title is prefaced, as it were, to the teaching;
in secunda explicatur ipsa doctrina, ibi beati pauperes spiritu.
in the second, the teaching itself is explained, at blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3).
Circa primum tria facit.
Concerning the first, he does three things.
Primo describit locum, ubi doctrina fuit proposita;
First, he describes the place where the teaching was set forth;
secundo auditores doctrinae;
second, those who heard the teaching;
tertio ponit modum docendi.
third, he sets out the manner of teaching.
Secundum ibi et cum sedisset; tertium ibi et aperiens os suum docebat eos.
The second is at and when he had sat down; the third, at and opening his mouth, he taught them.
397. Dicit ergo, ita dixi quod secuti sunt et cetera. Videns autem Iesus turbas. Ista littera duplicem intellectum habere potest. Primo sic. Ascendit ad docendum turbas, scilicet non fugiens. Unde Chrysostomus dicit, quod sicut artifex, quando videt praeparatam materiam, delectatur operari, ita sacerdos delectatur praedicare, quando populum videt congregatum; et ideo, ascendit; Ps. XXXIV, 18: confitebor tibi in ecclesia magna.
397. He says therefore, as I said, that they followed him. And seeing the multitudes, he went up onto a mountain. This text can be understood in two ways. First, as follows. He went up with the aim of teaching the crowds, that is, not fleeing. Hence Chrysostom says that just as a craftsman, when he sees material prepared, delights in working, so the priest delights in preaching when he sees the people gathered together. And so, he went up; I will give thanks to you in a great assembly (Ps 34:18).
Vel aliter. Ascendit, fugiens scilicet turbas, ut securius discipulos doceret; Eccl. IX, v. 17: verba sapientium audiuntur in silentio.
Or in another way. He went up, that is, fleeing from the crowds, so that he might teach the disciples more safely; the words of the wise are heard in silence (Eccl 9:17).
398. Et notandum quod legitur quod Christus habebat tria refugia: quandoque enim fugiebat ad montem, sicut dicitur hic; et Io. VIII, 1: Iesus autem perrexit in Montem Oliveti. Aliquando ad navem; Lc. V, 1: cum turbae multae irruerent in eum . . . ascendens in unam navim, quae erat Simonis . . . sedens docebat. Tertium in desertum; Mc. VI, 31: eamus seorsum in desertum.
398. And one should note that Christ had three places of refuge: for sometimes he fled to a mountain, as is said here and at Jesus went to the Mount of Olives (John 8:1). Sometimes, to a boat; when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God . . . going into one of the ships that was Simon’s . . . he taught, seated (Luke 5:1–3). Third, into the desert; come apart into a desert place, and rest a little (Mark 6:31).
Et satis convenienter; in tribus enim homo potest habere refugium ad Deum: in protectione divinae altitudinis, quae per montem significatur; Ps. CXXIV, 1: qui confidunt in Domino sicut mons Sion. In societate ecclesiastica, quae per navem designatur; Ps. CXXI, v. 3: Ierusalem quae aedificatur ut civitas, cuius participatio eius in idipsum. In solitudine religionis, quae per desertum accipitur, per contemptum temporalium; Osee II, 14: ducam eam in solitudinem, et loquar ad cor eius; Ps. LIV, 8: ecce elongavi fugiens, et mansi in solitudine.
And fittingly enough, for a man can take refuge in God in three ways: in the protection of the divine loftiness, which is signified by the mountain; they that trust in the Lord will be as Mount Zion (Ps 125:1). In the ecclesiastical society, which is indicated by the boat; Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together (Ps 122:3). In the solitude of religious life, which is understood by the desert, through the contempt of temporal things; behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart (Hos 2:14); lo, I have gone far off flying away; and I abode in the wilderness (Ps 55:6–7).
399. Ascendit autem in montem propter quinque rationes. Prima ad ostensionem suae excellentiae: ipse enim est mons, de quo Ps. LXVII, 16: mons Dei, mons pinguis. Secunda ad ostendendum quod doctor huius doctrinae debet ad eminentiam vitae conscendere; Is. XL, 9: super montem excelsum ascende tu qui evangelizas Sion. Chrysostomus: nemo potest in valle consistere, et de caelo loqui et cetera. Tertia ratio ad ostendendum altitudinem Ecclesiae cui doctrina proponitur; Is. II, 2: erit mons domus Domini in vertice montium, et elevabitur super colles. Quarto ad ostendendum perfectionem huius doctrinae, quia perfectissima; Ps. XXXV, 7: iustitia tua sicut montes Dei. Quinto ut congrueret ista veteri legislationi, quae data fuit in monte. Exod. XIX et XXIV.
399. Moreover, he went up onto the mountain for five reasons. First, to show his excellence: for he himself is the mountain of whom it is said, the mountain of God is a fat mountain (Ps 68:15). Second, to show that the teacher of this teaching ought to climb up in the loftiness of his life; get you up upon a high mountain, you who bring good tidings to Zion (Isa 40:9). Chrysostom: no one can linger in a valley who speaks of heaven. The third reason, to show the loftiness of the Church to whom the teaching is set forth; and in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be prepared on the top of mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills (Isa 2:2). Fourth, to show the perfection of this teaching, because it is most perfect; your justice is as the mountains of God (Ps 36:6). Fifth, that it might correspond to the old law, which had been given on a mountain (Exod 19, 24).
400. Consequenter ponuntur auditores et cum sedisset, accesserunt ad eum discipuli eius. Duo possunt notari in sessione eius. Humiliatio; Ps. CXXXVIII, 2: tu cognovisti sessionem meam. Quando erat in altitudine divinae maiestatis, non poterat capi eius doctrina; sed tunc coeperunt homines capere, quando se humiliavit. Vel hoc pertinet ad dignitatem magisterii; infra XXIII, 2: super cathedram Moysi sederunt Scribae et Pharisaei. Ad studium enim sapientiae requiritur quies. Accesserunt ad eum discipuli eius etc., non tantum corpore, sed animo; Ps. XXXIII, 6: accedite ad eum, et illuminamini; Deut. XXXIII, 3: qui appropinquant pedibus eius, accipient de doctrina illius.
400. Next, the hearers are set down, and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. One can note two things in his sitting. A humbling; you have known my sitting down, and my rising up (Ps 139:2). When he was in the loftiness of divine majesty, his teaching could not be grasped; but when he humbled himself, then men began to understand. Or, this pertains to the dignity of the teacher; the scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses (Matt 23:2). For rest is necessary for one who is zealous for wisdom. His disciples came to him, not only in body, but in soul; come to him and be enlightened (Ps 34:5); they that approach to his feet, will receive of his doctrine (Deut 33:3).
Et nota quod quando Dominus praedicavit turbis, stetit; Lc. VI, 17: descendens Iesus de monte stetit in loco campestri; sed hic quando discipulis, sedit. Ex hoc inolevit consuetudo quod turbis praedicatur stando, religiosis sedendo.
And notice that when the Lord preached to the crowds, he stood; and coming down with them, he stood in a plain place (Luke 6:17); but here, when he taught the disciples, he sat. Out of this grew the custom that one preaches to the crowds standing, and to religious sitting.
401. Et aperiens os suum docebat eos. Hic ponitur modus doctrinae.
401. And opening his mouth, he taught them. Here the manner of teaching is set down.
In hoc quod dicit aperiens, significatur quod diu ante tacuerat. Et demonstrat quod magnum et longum erat facturus sermonem, sicut dicit Augustinus. Vel quod magna et profunda dicturus erat; sic enim consueverunt facere homines; Iob III, 1: post hoc Iob aperuit os suum, et maledixit diei suo.
The fact that it says opening signifies that he had been silent for a long time before. And it shows that the sermon was going to be great and long, as Augustine says. Or that he was about to say great and profound things; for men often do this; after this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day (Job 3:1).
Et dicit suum: prius enim aperuit ora prophetarum; Sap. X, 21: sapientia aperuit os mutorum, et linguas infantium fecit disertas: ipse enim est Sapientia Patris.
And it says, his, for earlier he had opened the mouths of the prophets; for wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb, and made the tongues of infants eloquent (Wis 10:21): for he himself is the Wisdom of the Father.