St. Thomas Aquinas,
in his Catena Aurea (Golden Chain), includes the following citations of
the early church fathers for their commentary on Matthew 24:28
By an instance from nature, which we daily see, we are instructed in a
sacrament of Christ. Eagles and vultures are said to scent dead bodies
even beyond sea, and to flock to feed upon them. If then birds, not
having the gift of reason, by instinct alone find out where lays a dead
body, separated by so great space of country, how much more ought the
whole multitude of believers to
hasten to Christ, whose lightning goeth
forth out of the east, and shines even to the west?
We may understand by the carcase here, or
corpse, (which in the Latin is more expressively 'cadaver,') an
allusion to the passion of Christ's death.
That we might not be ignorant of the place in which He should come, He
adds this, "Wheresoever (p. 820) the carcase, &c." He calls the Saints
"eagles," from the spiritual flight of their bodies, and shews that
their gathering shall be to the place of His passion, the Angels guiding
them thither; and rightly should we look for His coming in glory there,
where He wrought for us eternal glory by the suffering of His bodily
And observe, He says not vultures or
crows, but "eagles," shewing the lordliness and royalty of all who have
believed in the Lord's passion.
They are called eagles whose youth is renewed as the eagle's, and who
take to themselves wings that they may come to Christ's passion. (marg.
note: Ps 103,5 Is 40,31)
Mor. xxxi, 53: We may understand this, "Wheresoever the carcase is," as
meaning, I who incarnate sit on the throne of heaven, as soon as I shall
have loosed the souls of the elect from the flesh, will exalt them to
We are invited to flock to Christ's passion wheresoever in Scripture it
(p. 822) read of, that through it we may be able to come to God's word.
See St. Thomas
Aquinas' Catena Aurea
Source 1, or
And St. Thomas Aquinas
lists the following citations for
“And they said to him,
‘Where, Lord?’ He said to them, ‘Where the body is, there the eagles
will be gathered together.’ ”
As if He said, As when a dead body is thrown away, all the birds which
feed on human flesh flock to it, so when the Son of man shall come, all
the eagles, that is, the saints, shall haste to meet Him.
See St. Thomas Aquinas'