Voices ever ancient, ever new. Friday-Week20-2013.

In commenting on Matthew 22:35 from today’s Mass Readings, Origen of Alexandria writes:

“Now let us consider one argument of entrapment: “Teacher,” he says, “what is the greater commandment in the law?” He says “teacher” trying to entrap him, since he offers his thoughts not as a disciple of Christ. This however, will be clearer from an example we now offer. Consider: The father of a son is indeed the father, and no one else is able to call him father except the son; and the mother of a daughter is indeed her mother, and no one else can call her mother except her own daughter.
And so the teacher of a disciple is indeed his teacher, and the disciple of a teacher is truly his disciple. As a result, no one is able to say “teacher” properly except a disciple. And see how, on account of this, that not all who call him teacher do so appropriately but only those who have a desire to learn from him. He said to his disciples, “You call me teacher and lord, and rightly so, for so I am.” Therefore disciples of Christ properly indeed address him as teacher, and by this word from the Lord himself his servants rightly call him Lord. Thus the apostle spoke well when he said, “Yet for us there is one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and for whom we exist.” And consider what he says, “It is enough for the disciple to be” not simply like a teacher but “like his teacher.” Therefore if anyone does not learn something from this word or surrender himself with his whole heart, in order to become his delightful dwelling place but still calls him “teacher,” he is brother to the Pharisees attempting to entrap Christ while calling him “teacher.” And so all who say “Our Father who art in heaven” ought not to have “the spirit of slavery in fear but a spirit of the adoption of sons.” However, whoever does not have “the spirit of adoption of sons” and yet says “Our Father who art in heaven” is lying, since he is not a son of God, while calling God his Father. (Commentary on Matthew, 2)”