Matthew 13:17

For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Quaest. in Matt., q. 14: Otherwise; “They have shut their eyes lest they should see with their eyes,” that is, themselves were the cause that God shut their eyes. For another Evangelist says, “He hath blinded their eyes.” But is this to the end that they should never see? Or that they should not see so much as this, that becoming discontent with their own blindness and bewailing themselves, should so be humbled, and moved to confession of their sins and pious seeking after God. For Mark thus expresses the same thing, “Lest they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” From which we learn, that by their sins they deserved not to understand; and that yet this was allowed them in mercy that they should confess their sins, and should turn, and so merit to be forgiven. But if it be so, who would not rise up in defence of the Jews, and pronounce them to be free from all blame for their unbelief? For, “Therefore they could not believe, because he hath blinded their eyes....

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Amen, I say to you. St. Jerome remarks, that these words of our Saviour seem to contradict another part of Scripture, where it is said, Abraham desired to see my days; he saw them, and rejoiced. But St. Jerome answers his own objection thus: Abraham indeed saw my days, but only in a dark manner, in enigma, but not in reality, whilst you have your Lord with you; you speak to him, and interrogate him at pleasure. (St. Aquinas) Christ declares his disciples more blessed than the ancient patriarchs and prophets. They saw him only by faith, but the disciples with their corporal eyes. (St. Chrysostom)

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
The disciples understanding that the things which were spoken by the Lord to the people were obscure, desired to hint to Him that He should not speak in parables to them. “And his disciples came to him, and said, Why speakest thou to them in parables?” That is; With the hearing ye shall hear words, but shall not understand the hidden meaning of those words; seeing ye shall see My flesh indeed, but shall not discern the divinity. So then the eyes of them that see, and will not believe, are miserable, but your eyes are blessed; whence it follows, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”. The mind is called an eye, because it is intently directed upon what is set before it to understand it; and an ear, because it learns from the teaching of another.

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
He teaches the blessedness of the apostolic times to those whose eyes and ears are fortunate to look upon and hear the salvation of God. These are the prophets and the righteous who have longed to see and hear the fulfillment of the expected times. They share in the joy of that expectation reserved for the apostles.
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
Or, He is speaking of the blessedness of the Apostolic times, to whose eyes andears it was permitted to see and to hear the salvation of God, many Prophets and just men having desired to see and to hear that which was destined to be in the fulness of times; whence it follows; “Verily I say unto you, that many Prophets and just men have desired to see the things that ye see, and to hearthe things that ye hear, and have not heard them.”
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AD 420
It seems that what he said elsewhere runs counter to this point: “Abraham desired to see my day. He saw it and rejoiced.” He did not say all the prophets and righteous people desired to see what you see, but many. Among many it may be that some see and some do not see, although in our interpretation we seem to be making a distinction between the merits of the saints. Therefore Abraham saw dimly as though in a mirror, but you now have and hold your Lord and question him freely and eat with him. .
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AD 420
We must enquire how they could come to Him at that time when Jesus was sitting in the ship; we may understand that they had at the first entered into the ship, and standing there, made this enquiry of Him. Or, To the Apostles who believe in Christ there is given, but from the Jews who believed not on the Son of God there is taken away, even whatever good they might seem to have by nature. For they cannot understand any thing with wisdom, seeing they have not the head of wisdom. This He says of those who were standing on the shore, and separated from Jesus, and who because of the dashing of the waves, heard not distinctly what wassaid. If we had not read above that invitation to his hearers to understand, when the Saviour said, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear,” we might here suppose that the eyes and ears which are now blessed are those of the body. But I think that those eyes are blessed which can discern Christ’s sacraments, and those ears of which Isaiah speaks, “The Lord hat...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do you see that what has been given them is a free gift? Yet they would not have been blessed unless they had cooperated with the gift with well doing of their own. Do not tell me this is spoken obscurely. Those who did not hear might have come and asked him for further clarification, as the disciples did. But they did not will to do so, being careless and apathetic. Why do I say that they did not will to do this? They were doing the very opposite, not only disbelieving, not only not listening, but even waging war. They were disposed to be very bitter against all he said. So Jesus brings before them the charge of the prophet: “Their ears were unwilling to hear.” But the hearers were not like this, and this is why they were blessed. In yet another way he assures them again, saying, “Many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it,” that is, hear of my coming, my miracles, my voice, my teaching. Here he compa...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
But not such were these; wherefore He also blessed them. And in another way too He assures them again. my coming, He means; my very miracles, my voice, my teaching. For here He prefers them not to these depraved only, but even to such as have done virtuously; yea, and He affirms them to be more blessed even than they. Why can this be? Because not only do these see what the Jews saw not, but even what those of old desired to see. For they indeed beheld by faith only: but these by sight too, and much more distinctly. Do you see how again He connects the old dispensation with the new, signifying that those of old not only knew the things to come but also greatly desired them? But had they pertained to some strange and opposing God, they would never have desired them.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Hom. xiv: Wherein it is worthy admiration, that the disciples who desire to learn of Him, know when they ought to ask Him, for they do not this before the multitude. This Matthew declares, when he says, “And they came to him;” and Mark more expressly says, that “they came to him when he was alone.” And observe moreover their goodness, how great their thought for others, that they enquire about what concerns others, before what relates to themselves. For they say not, "Why speakest thou to us in parables?" but “to them. And he answered and said unto them, Because it is given to you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.” In saying this, He does not imply any necessity or fate, but shows at once, that they, to whom it is not given, are the cause of all their own miseries, and yet that the knowledge of the Divine mysteries is the gift of God, and a grace given from above. Yet this does not destroy free will, as is manifest from what follows; for to prevent that either these should...
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Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
The heart of the Jews is made gross with the grossness of wickedness, and through the abundance of their sins they hear hardly the Lord’s words, because they have received them ungratefully. Also Isaiah and Micah, and many other Prophets, saw the glory of the Lord; and were thence called ‘seers.’
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Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
The Evangelist therefore says, came to him, to express that they eagerly enquired of Him; or they might indeed approach Him bodily, though the space between them was small. He that has a desire to read, shall have given to him power to understand, andwhoso has not desire to read, that understanding which by the bounty of nature he seems to have, even that shall be taken from him. Or, whoso has charity, to him shall be given the other virtues also; and from him who has not charity, the other virtues likewise shall be taken away, for without charity there canbe nothing good. And it should be noted, that not only what He spake, but also what He did, were parables, that is, signs of things spiritual, which He clearly shows when He says, “That seeing they may not see;” but words are heard and not seen. In all the clauses the word ‘not’ must be understood; thus; That they should not see with their eyes, and should not hear with their ears, and should not understand with their heart, and shou...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Even the physical eyes and ears of the apostles are blessed. But even more so are their spiritual eyes and ears worthy of blessedness, because they recognized the Christ. He esteems them more highly than the prophets because the prophets saw the Christ only spiritually, while the apostles saw Him both spiritually and physically. But also because the prophets were not deemed worthy of such great mysteries and knowledge as were the apostles. In two ways, then, the apostles surpass the prophets: that they saw Christ bodily and that they were initiated into a deeper, more spiritual, understanding of the divine mysteries. Then He explains the parable to the disciples, saying:

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

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