I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
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Cornelius a Lapide
I must work, &c. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others understand by the word "day" the present life, and by "night" the future life. But this is what is common to all men. But Christ speaks of this day as specially relating to Himself and His own work. And therefore S. Augustine, Cyril, and Bede put a better and closer meaning on the word day, as speaking of the life of Christ on earth, and night as referring to His absence, meaning by this, that just as men cannot work at night on account of the darkness, so after death shall I no longer work as I do now for the salvation and redemption of men. "My day" ( John 8:56) means in like manner My birth and My life amongst men. He says this, as preparing the way for the healing of the blind man. "I am sent into the world to do good to men: this blind man presents himself and I will restore his sight." Symbolically: Night, says the Interlinear Gloss, is the persecution of the Apostles, especially by antichrist. Tropologically. The time of li...
Lo here again in these words, plainly and reasonably, He rebukes in a similar manner the disciples, as if they had done something they ought not, and having left the high road, well-trodden and firm, had ventured on another which seemed not at all fit for them. For, why do ye ask, says He, things touching which it is good to be silent? Or why, leaving that which suits the time, do ye hasten to learn things beyond the capacity of man? It is not a time for such curiosity, says He, but for work and intense zeal; for I deem it more becoming, passing by such questions, to execute zealously God's commands, and since He has appointed us Apostles, to fulfil the works of the Apostleship. When the Lord numbers Himself with those who are sent, and enrols Himself among those who ought to work, in no way does He make Himself really one of us, or say that He Himself is subject as we are- by a certain servile necessity to the will of a commander: but He uses a common habit of speech, even to ourselve...
Whilst it is day. That is, during all the time of this mortal life; the night comes, that is, death. (Witham)
He speaks of that night of which mention is made is St. Matthew chap. xxii. Cast him into exterior darkness. This is a night in which none can work, but only receive the reward of their labours. If you wish to work, work now whilst you live; for beyond the grave there is neither faith, nor labour, nor repentance. (St. Chrysostom, as above.)
That is, I must manifest Myself, and do the things which may show that I do the same things with the Father; not things similar, but, the same, an expression which marks greater unvaryingness, and which is used of those who do not differ ever so little. Who then after this will face Him, when he sees that He has the same power with the Father? For not only did He form or open eyes, but gave also the gift of sight, which is a proof that He also breathed in the soul. Since if that did not work, the eye, though perfected, could never see anything; so that He gave both the energy which is from the soul, and gave the member also possessing all things, both arteries and nerves and veins, and all things of which our body is composed.
I must work while it is day.
What mean these words? To what conclusion do they lead? To an important one. For what He says is of this kind. While it is day, while men may believe in Me, while this life lasts, I must work.
The night comes, that is, futurity, w...