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HOMILY 22 ''Noe was five hundred years old when he had three sons, Shem, Cham and japheth. Human beings began to be numerous on earth, and daughters were born to them. "I HE [185] LEFTOVERS OF YESTERDAY'S MEAL I would like to put before you today-but don't get upset, dearly beloved, at the mention of leftovers: while in the case of material viands after a day or two they frequently lose their freshness and are useless as nourishment; in the case of a spiritual meal there is no cause for anything like that. On the contrary, no matter how much time elapses, it gives all the more evidence of grace and is found to be fresher and more potent. So come now, let us put into effect the promise we made yesterday, discharge our debt of teaching and give evidence of gratitude. You see, the teaching proves to be of advantage not only to those who receive it, as in the case of debts, but also to me as I discharge my debt. Why do I say, to me as I discharge my debt? The nature of this spiritual debt is such that the more it is discharged, the more it grows and brings about an increase in the remainder as well as untold wealth both for the debtor and for the creditors. Do you recognize the new kind of debt and the unusual form of payment? This is the way, you see, with spiritual things: they increase all the more with distribution, and the remainder grows in direct ratio to the number who share in it; the debtor feels no effect of his payment-instead, what he retains increases while the recipients find themselves also in better circumstances. (2) So, since this is the nature of these spiritual goods, let us in our turn show all zeal and enthusiasm about payment I. GenS.32;5.1. 58 HOMILY 22 69 while you ready your ears for receiving it so that with the recesses of your mind set at rest you may receive the words we say, and in this way go off home. You see, I have in mind once again to bring to the fore the subject of Noe, of God's ineffable love and his longsuffering that surpasses all description . You learnt yesterday how right from his birth [186] this just man was given his name by his father and thus went about providing everyone of that period with a warning of their fate, as if he were shouting aloud and saying in his own words, Refrain from evil, turn to virtue, fear the impending punishment-a deluge will engulf the whole world without exception; the excess of God's anger is extreme, since extreme also is the swell of wickedness. He went on doing this not for a year or two or three, but he kept up this exhortation for five hundred years. Do you see the Lord's longsuffering? Do you see the excess of his goodness? Do you see the intensity of wickedness? Do you see the degree of ingratitude? (3) It was at this point, as you recall, that our instruction yesterday came to a close; so today we must discover how the loving Lord in fidelity to his own goodness did not stop short at five hundred years but demonstrated a further extension of his care for the people who had sinned in that way. "Noe was five hundred years old," the text says. Sacred Scripture gave us an indication of the significance of the good man's age so that we might learn how long a time he lived exhorting them and how they chose the way of evil and were consumed in it, whereas the good man took a path at variance with them all, displayed the highest degree of virtue and so won favor from God and, while all the others became liable to punishment , he escaped it along with his kin. From this we learn that, provided we remain on the alert and do not lose heart, we will not only come to no harm from dealing with evil people but will even be rendered more careful about virtue. You see, the reason why the loving God arranged things in such a way that everyone good and evil should be in the same situation was in order that the wickedness of the evil might be thwarted, the virtue of the good might shine more brightly...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813211824
Print ISBN
9780813210872
MARC Record
OCLC
867796355
Pages
493
Launched on MUSE
2013-02-13
Language
English
Open Access
N
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