But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet:
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Cornelius a Lapide
But the father said to his servant, &c. "The servants," says Theophylact, "are the angels or the priests," or, according to S. Augustine, the preachers, for by their ministry God reconciles sinners to Himself.
The best robe. The "first" robe, that which he was wont to wear before he left his father"s house, for from the repetition of the article Ï„Î·Ì€Ï… ÏƒÏ„Î¿Î»Î·Ì€Î½ Ï„Î·Ì€Î½ Ï€Î¶Ï‰ÌÏ„Î·Î½, it is clear that some particular garment is indicated.
Hence, in the lives of the Fathers, it is related that a certain Bishop saw in a vision two women who were sinners, clothed, after having made sacramental confession, in white garments and radiant with light. He inquired the cause of this from an angel that appeared unto him, and was told that the women, by their confession and tears, had rendered themselves worthy to be numbered with the elect.
And put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. A ring of gold, i.e. the mark of a free and rich or noble Prayer of Manasseh , as also are shoe...
The servants you may understand to mean the angels, the ministering spirits who are sent to serve those who are counted worthy of salvation. For the angels clothe the man who has turned from wickedness with the first robe, that is, with the original garment which we wore before we sinned, the garment of incorruption; or, it means that garment which is honored above all others, the robe of Baptism. For the baptismal robe is the first to be placed around me, and from it I receive a covering of my former shame and indecency. Therefore you may understand the servants to mean the angels who carry out all those things that are done on our behalf, and by means of which we are sanctified. You may also understand the servants to mean the priests. For they clothe the repentant sinner with Baptism and the word of teaching, placing around him the first robe, which is Christ Himself (for all we that have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, Gal. 3:18). And they put a ring on his hand, whic...