Homily On Matthew 8 By Saint John Chrysostom

Homily On Matthew 8 By Saint John Chrysostom — But nevertheless, though having such great faith, he still accounted himself to be unworthy. Christ, however, signifying that he was worthy to have Him enter his house, did much greater things, marveling at him and proclaiming him and giving more than he had asked.

For he came indeed seeking for his servant’s health of body, but went away, having received a kingdom.

Do you see how the saying had already been fulfilled? “Seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.” For because he evinced great faith, and lowliness of mind, He both gave him heaven, and added unto him health.

And not by this alone did He honor him, but also by signifying upon whose casting out he is brought in. For now from this time forth He proceeds to make known to all, that salvation is by faith, not by works of the law.

And this is why not to Jews only, but to Gentiles also the gift so given shall be prooffered, and to the latter rather than to the former.

For “think not,” he says He, by any means, that so it has come to pass in regard of this man alone; nay so it shall be in regard of the whole world. And this He said, prophesying of the Gentiles, and suggesting to them good hopes. For in fact there were some following Him from Galilee of the Gentiles. And this He said, on the one hand, not letting the Gentiles despair, on the other hand putting down the proud spirits of the Jews.

But that His saying might not affront the hearers, nor afford them any handle; He neither brings forward prominently what He has to say of the Gentiles, but upon occasion taken from the centurion; nor does He use nakedly the term, Gentiles: Not saying many of the Gentiles but many from east and west:’ Matthew 8:11 which was the language of one pointing out the Gentiles, but did not so much affront the hearers because His meaning was under a shadow.

Neither in this way only does He soften the apparent novelty of His doctrine, but also by speaking of “Abraham’s bosom” instead of “the kingdom”.

Saint John Chrysotom

Homily On Matthew 8

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh-Bearers Church of Swarthmore

Homily On Matthew 8 By Saint John Chrysostom

If They Entrust Themselves Completely

If They Entrust Themselves Completely — “Look at the birds of the air,” says Jesus. What a splendid example of our faith to follow! If God’s providence bestows an unfailing supply of food on the birds of the air who neither sow nor reap, we ought to realize that the reason for people’s supply running short is human greed. The fruits of the earth were given to feed all without distinction and nobody can claim any particular rights. Instead, we have lost the sense of the communion of goods, rushing to turn these goods into private property. The birds do not know famine because they do not claim anything specially for themselves and neither do they have any envy of others.

“Consider the lilies of the field: not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass which is alive today and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe one of you!”

Listen to these stupendous and uplifting words. With this parable of flowers and grass the Lord urges us to hope that God will also be merciful to us.

Nothing is more persuasive than a glance at unthinking creatures who have received such beautiful dress from providence. Surely we should be all the more ready to believe that human beings, if they entrust themselves completely to God and free themselves of all their worries will not lack anything.

Saint Ambrose of Milan

If They Entrust Themselves Completely -- "Look at the birds of the air," says Jesus. What a splendid example of our faith to follow! If God's providence

Saint Ambrose lived from about 340 to 397 A.D.

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh-Bearers Church of Swarthmore

The Apostles’ Call And Ours

The Apostles’ Call And Ours

But note both their faith and their obedience. For though they were in the midst of their work — and you know how time consuming a chore fishing is — when they heard His command they did not delay or procrastinate. They did not say “Let us return home, and talk things over with our family,” even as Elisha did when he followed Elijah. For Christ seeks this kind of obedience from us, such that we delay not even for a moment, though something absolutely most necessary should vehemently press in on us.

Saint John Chrysotom

The kingdom of heaven has no price tag on it. It is worth as much as you have for Zacchaeus it was wroth half of what he owned, because the other half that he had unjustly pocketed he promised to restore four-fold. For Peter and Andrew it was worth the nets and vessel they had left behind; for the widow it was worth two copper coins; for another it was a cup of cold water. So, as we said, the kingdom of heaven is worth as much as you have.

Saint Gregory the Great

Like Peter, Andrew, James and John we have been called to discipleship. As such, we are given the name of “Christian”. But are we conscious what the name stands for, what responsibility comes with it? It is more than just a title or a label. To be a disciple of Christ, to bear the name of Christian, compels us to take on the responsibility — regardless of the difficulty and cost — of living the Gospel every moment of our lives.

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh-Bearers Church of Swarthmore

The Apostles' Call And Ours

The Apostles’ Call And Ours

Five From The Fathers

Five From The Fathers

When you perceive that God is chastising you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power . . .

Saint John Chrysotom

A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

In this way is he (the true Christian) always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels as being already of angelic ran, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him.

Saint Clement of Alexandria

In additon to the stuyd and true knowledge of the Scriptures are needed a good life and pure soul and virtue in Christ, so that the mind, journeying in this path, may be able to obtain and apprehend what it desires, in so far as human nature is able to learn about God the Word. For without a pure mind and a life modeled on the saints, no one can apprehend the words of the saints.

Saint Althanasius the Great

The divine Scripture likewise says that the souls of the just are in God’s hands and death cannot lay hold of them. For death is rather the sleep of the saints than their death. “For they travailed in this life and shall to the end,”and Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” What then, is more precious than to be in the hand of God. For God is Life and Light, and those who are in God’s hand are in life and light.

Saint John of Damascus

Five From The Fathers

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh-Bearers Church of Swarthmore.

Five From The Fathers

Life In The Church Because In The Church There Is Spirit

Life In The Church Because In The Church There Is Spirit — My brothers and sisters, if you want the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, listen carefully. Our spirit, by means of which each individual lives, is called the soul.

And look at what the soul does in the body. It gives life to all the limbs. It sees with the eyes, hears with the ears, smells with the nose, speaks with the tongue, works with the hands, walks with the feet. It is present at one and the same time in all the limbs to make them live. It gives life to all the limbs and to each limb its function. It is not the eye that hears, not the ear that sees, not the eye or the ear that speaks. Yet they are nonetheless alive. The ear is alive, the tongue is alive. Their functions are different, the life is the same.

The Church of God is like that. By means of some believers she preforms miracles. By means of others, she teaches the truth; by means of some she keeps virginity, by means of others she respects marital fidelity.

The tasks are different, the life is the same.

What the soul is to the body of a human being, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, the Church.

The Holy Spirit does for the whole Church what the soul does for the body of the individual. Look then and see what you ought to fear and what you ought to avoid.

If the body suffers an amputation (for example of a finger or a hand or a foot) does the soul go with the limb that has been cut off? While it was in the body that limb was alive, yet when it is cut off it loses its life.

It is like that with Christians. They are alive only while they are in the Body. If they are cut off from the Body, the Holy Spirit is not longer with them.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Life In The Church Because In The Church There Is Spirit

Life In The Church Because In The Church There Is Spirit

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh-Bearers Church of Swarthmore.

Knowledge of the True God Nurtures Us To Eternal Life

Knowledge of the True God Nurtures Us To Eternal Life — Are we saying that knowledge is eternal life?

Are we saying that to know the one true and living God will suffice to give us complete security for the future without need of anything else?

Then how is “faith apart from works dead?”

When we speak of faith, we mean the true knowledge of God and nothing else, since knowledge comes by faith.

The prophet Isaiah tells us: “If you do not believe neither shall you understand.” But he is not talking about a knowledge that consists in barren speculations, which is entirely worthless. For one of the holy disciples said, “You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder.”

What then shall we say to this? How is it that Christ speaks the truth when He says that eternal life is the knowledge of God the Father, the one true God, and with Him of the Son? I think indeed we must answer that saying of the Savior is completely true. For this knowledge is life, laboring as it were in birth of the whole meaning of the mystery and granting to us participation in the mystery of the Eucharist, whereby we are joined to the living and life-giving Word.

And for this reason, I think, Paul says that the Gentiles are made fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of Christ, inasmuch as they partake in His Blessed Body and Blood. And our members may in this sense be conceived of as being members of Christ.

This knowledge, then, which also brings to us the Eucharist by the Spirit, is life.

For it dwells in our hearts, reshaping those who receive it into son-ship with Him and molding them into incorruption and piety toward God through life, according to the Gospel.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, knowing that the knowledge of the one true God brings to us and promotes our union with the blessings of which we have spoken, says that it is eternal life.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

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Knowledge of the True God Nurtures Us To Eternal Life

Returning Sight Is Link To Baptism

Returning Sight Is Link To Baptism –The cure of the blind man also symbolizes mankind’s means for its recovery from its blindness.

It symbolizes the Sacrament of Baptism.

Baptism is called holy enlightenment. Those who have been recently baptized are called the newly enlightened. This gospel from Saint John was read in the ancient Church on Holy Saturday when Catechumens were baptized.

As this man is cured of his blindness when he washes in the pool of Siloam as Jesus tells him to do, so are we brought out of darkness into a new life when we are baptized as Christ instructed us to be.

Jesus restores His creation, mankind, with the potential to become what it was meant to be before the fall of Adam.

We also hear in the reading that after this man was cured many of those who knew him before did not recognize him. He is still the same man but something has significantly changed about him. He is no longer blind.

So when we are illuminated we are also new persons, though our outward appearance might be the same. To symbolize this newness a white garment is put on us to show the purity with which we start this new existence. We must, however, become different and unrecognizable in our inward and outward actions also. We must manifest our new existence to those around us through these actions. We must radiate this new found light to others by the way we live our lives. We must say to the world, “I am he who was blind but now my eyes are opened.”

Credit must be given to Him who has cured us of our darkness by living our lives according to the lessons of the illumination we have received and the continued guidance we get with the reception of the Holy Spirit.

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh Bearers Church, 900 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.
Services are 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m., Sundays.

Returning Sight Is Link To Baptism

Returning Sight Is Link To Baptism

The Samaritan Woman And Living Water

The Samaritan Woman And Living Water –The Fourth Gospel, attributed to Saint John the Evangelist, is used exclusively from Easter until Pentecost for the Sunday readings. The first chapter of John’s Gospel is the proclamation used for the Divine Liturgy on Easter itself. This week, we are reminded of the story of Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, and thereby Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament.

In one of the many unique stories of the Fourth Gospel not found in the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark or Luke), Jesus reveals himself as Messiah to this woman of Samaria and talks with her about the “water that I will give will become . . . a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

In the early days of His ministry, Jesus travels back and fourth between Galilee and Jerusalem, and must pass through Samaria. The Samaritans were outcast Jews because they were not subject to the Babylonian exile of the Israelites from other provinces. Therefore when Jesus talks with this Samaritan woman, His disciples are surprised and in shock that He would carry n on a conversation with a woman at the well, let alone a Samaritan.

But as the story is explained, the woman’s testimony about Jesus spreads through the nearby town, and because of her, many come to hear His teachings

After hearing His word, they come to believe in Him and proclaim Him “the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42).

With water as the focal point of this encounter, we are once again reminded of our Baptism, and that Christ’s Baptism is that of “eternal life” through “living water.”

Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos

The Samaritan Woman And Living Water

The Samaritan Woman And Living Water

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh Bearers Church, 900 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.
Services are 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m., Sundays.

Incorruptible But Touchable

The Lord’s body that made its entrance to the disciples through closed doors was the same as that which issued before the eyes of people from the Virgin’s closed womb at His birth.

Is it surprising that He who was now going to live forever made His entrance through closed doors after His resurrection who on His coming in order to die made His appearance from the unopened womb of a virgin?

But because the faith of those who beheld it wavered concerning the body they could see, He showed them at once His hands and His side, offering them the body that He brought in through the closed doors to touch.

By this action, He revealed two wonderful and, according to human reason, quite contradictory things.

He showed them that after resurrection His body was both incorruptible and yet could be touched.

By showing us that it is incorruptible, He would urge us on toward our reward, and by offering it as touchable He would dispose us toward faith.

He manifested Himself as both incorruptible and touchable to show us that His body after His resurrection was of the same nature as ours but of a different sort of glory.

Saint Gregory the Great

Saint Gregory the Great lived from 540 to 604 becoming pope in 590. The Gregorian chant is attributed to him.

Incorruptible But Touchable

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh Bearers Church, 900 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.
Services are 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m., Sundays.

Accompanying Christ On Palm Sunday

Accompanying Christ On Palm Sunday — Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today He returns from Bethany and proceeds of His own free will toward His holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation.

He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with Himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of His own free will to make His journey to Jerusalem.

Let us run to accompany Him as He hastens toward His passion, and imitate those who met Him then, not by covering His path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing what we can to prostrate ourselves before Him by being humble and by trying to live as He would wish.

Then we shall be able to receive the Word at His coming and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In His humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and He is glad that He became so humble for our sake, glad that He came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order raise us up again to Himself.

And even though we are told that He has now ascended above the highest heavens — the proof, surely, of His power and godhead — His love for man will never rest until He has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with His own in heaven.

So let us spread before His feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, bur ourselves, clothed in His grace, or rather, clothed completely in Him.

We who are baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before Him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of His victory. Let our souls take the place of he welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Saint Andrew of Crete who was the bishop of Gortineia in Crete from the late 600s to his death in the early 700s.

Courtesy of Holy Myrrh Bearers Church, 900 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081. Services are 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m., Sundays.