Voices ever ancient, ever new. Thursday-Week27-2013.

“What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? (Luke 11:11-12)”

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Of those three things that the apostle commends, faith is either signified by the fish, because of the water of baptism, or because it remains unharmed by the waves of this world. The Serpent is opposed to it, because it craftily and deceitfully persuaded man not to believe in God. The egg symbolizes hope, because the chick is not yet alive but will be; it is not yet seen but is hoped. “Hope that is seen is not hope.” The scorpion is opposed to hope, because whoever hopes for eternal life forgets the things that are behind and reaches out to those that are before. It is dangerous for him to look backward, and he is on guard against the rear of the scorpion, which has a poisoned dart in its tail. Bread symbolizes love, because “the greatest of these is love,” and among foods, bread certainly surpasses all others in value. The stone is opposed to it because the stonehearted cast out love. It may be that these gifts signify something more appropriate, yet he who knows how to give good gifts to his children urges us to ask, seek and knock. (Letter 130)”