Matthew 5:29

And if your right eye causes you to offend, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is better for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Here, certainly, there is need of great courage in order to cut off one's members. For whatever it is that is meant by the eye, undoubtedly it is such a thing as is ardently loved. For those who wish to express their affection strongly are wont to speak thus: I love him as my own eyes, or even more than my own eyes. Then, when the word right is added, it is meant perhaps to intensify the strength of the affection. For although these bodily eyes of ours are turned in a common direction for the purpose of seeing, and if both are turned they have equal power, yet men are more afraid of losing the right one. So that the sense in this case is: Whatever it is which you so love that you reckon it as a right eye, if it offends you, i.e. if it proves a hindrance to you on the way to true happiness, pluck it out and cast it from you. For it is profitable for you, that one of these which you so love that they cleave to you as if they were members, should perish, rather than that your whole body s...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
But since the body has been mentioned, this can be understood more properly of the body of the church. In this body the eye, like a precious member, is recognized as the bishop who enlightens the entire body by the light of a divine commandment. The passage properly applies here: “If your right eye is an occasion of sin to you, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is better for you that one of your members should perish than your whole body should be thrown into hell.” Hence, if this type of eye—symbolizing an unworthy bishop—through his disreputable faith and base dealings becomes a scandal to the church, Christ advises that he be plucked out, lest the people be held accountable for his sins. For it is written that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” And again: “Keep yourself from every kind of evil.” The hand is understood to signify a priest who, because of his disreputable faith or life, becomes a scandal to God’s people. The Lord orders that he be cut away, that is, rem...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Whatever is an immediate occasion of sin, however near or dear it may be, must be abandoned (Menochius), though it prove as dear to us, or as necessary as a hand, or an eye, and without delay or demur. (Haydock)

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
As the degree of innocence increases, faith becomes more advanced. For we are advised to be free not only from our own particular faults but also from those things that affect us outwardly. For is it not because of sin that the bodily members were condemned in the first place? The right eye is no less sinister than the left. It is pointless to chastise a foot that is unaware of lust and thus involves no grounds for punishment. But our members indeed do differ from each other while we are all one body. We are here being advised to pluck out inordinate loves or friendships if they are the occasion that leads us further into wrongdoing. We would do well to not even have the benefit of a member, like an eye or a foot, if it furnishes the avenue by which one is drawn by excessive affections into a partnership with hell. Even the cutting away of a member might be beneficial if the heart (figuratively speaking) were also able to be cut away. But if the impulse of the heart is left unchanged, ...


AD 420
Since Jesus spoke before about lust for a woman, he now rightly refers to an unruly thought or feeling as an eye. By the right hand and other members of the body the onset of the will and emotions is suggested. Thus what we conceive in the mind we might complete with an act. Hence we must be aware that what is best in us may soon devolve into a vice. If your right eye and your right hand are an occasion of sin to you, how much more is this true of the left members. If your soul begins to slip, how much more the body, which has a greater tendency to sin. In other words, in the right eye and the right hand of one’s siblings and wife and children and relatives and neighbors, an emotion is indicated. If we perceive they are an obstacle to us in contemplating the true light, we must cut off those parts. Otherwise, in our desire to profit from others, we may perish for all eternity. Hence it is said concerning the high priest whose soul is dedicated to the worship of God: “He shall not defil...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Thus, lest you should say, But what if she be akin to me? What if in any other way she belong to me? therefore He has given these injunctions; not discoursing about our limbs—far from it—for nowhere does He say that our flesh is to be blamed for things, but everywhere it is the evil mind that is accused. For it is not the eye that sees, but the mind and the thought. Often, for instance, we being wholly turned elsewhere, our eye sees not those who are present. So that the matter does not entirely depend upon its working. Again, had He been speaking of members of the body, He would not have said it of one eye, nor of the right eye only, but of both. For he who is offended by his right eye, most evidently will incur the same evil by his left also. Why then did He mention the right eye, and add the hand? To show you that not of limbs is He speaking, but of them who are near unto us. Thus, If, says He, you so lovest any one, as though he were in stead of a right eye; if you think him so pro...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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