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HOMILY 30 "The whole world had the same language, and everyone used the same words.'" 0, [273] AT LONG LAST we have reached the end of the holy season of Lent, we have completed the voyage of fasting and now, thanks to God's grace, we have put into port. Don't become careless on that account, however; instead, let that be an occasion for our giving evidence of so much the greater enthusiasm and vigilance. Navigators , too, when they are on the point of entering port after crossing countless seas, with full sails and cargo brought out of the hold, then most of all exercise great concern and anxiety lest the ~ip crash on to some reef or rock and render their previous trouble useless. Runners behave in this way, too; when they approach the end of the course, then most of all they exert their keenest effort so as to reach the finish-line and be awarded the prize. Prize-fighters as well, despite countless fights and victories, exert the greatest effort when they are wrestling for the prize so that they may win the purse and go home. So, just as navigators, runners and prizefighters in each case stretch their enthusiasm and vigilance to the limit at the point when they are close to success, well, in just the same way ought we too, now that we have arrived at this great week, give thanks to God's grace, intensify the devotion of our prayers and give evidence of precise and thorough confession of sins, practice of good works, generous almsgiving, fair dealing, even-tempered behavior and every other virtue, so that we may arrive at the Lord's Day with these good deeds and thus enjoy the Master's generosity. I. Gen 11.1. Chrysostom, with his moral purpose, is not likely to rush over this chapter as he did the Table of Nations. 220 HOMILY 30 221 (2) We call the week great, not because it has a greater number of hours-other weeks having many more hours, after all-nor because it has more days, there being the same number of days in this and the other weeks, of course. So why do we call this week great? Because in it many ineffable good things come our way: in it protracted war is concluded, death is eliminated, curses are lifted, [274] the devil's tyranny is relaxed, his pomps are despoiled, the reconciliation of God and man is achieved, heaven is made accessible, human beings are brought to resemble angels, those things which were at odds are united, the wall is laid low, the bar removed, the God of peace having brought peace to things on high and things on earth. This, then, is the reason we call the week great, because in it the Lord lavished on us such a plethora of gifts. This is the reason many people intensify their fasting as well as their sacred watching and vigils, and practice almsgiving , thus showing by their behavior the regard they have for the week. After all, since the Lord in this week has regaled us with such great goods, how are we too not obliged to demonstrate our reverence and regard as far as we can? (3) Emperors, too, in fact, by their own action declare the extent of the reverence they have for these august days by ordering everyone involved in civic administration to suspend business, the doors of the courts to be closed and all kinds of strife and dispute to be eliminated so that we may have the chance to proceed to our spiritual duties in complete peace and quiet. And not only this: they also give evidence of further generosity by releasing from their chains those confined in prison, and thus imitating their Lord to the extent of human capacity. Just as he (as Scripture tells us) releases us from the harsh prison of our sins and offers us enjoyment of countless goods, in just the same way ought we to become imitators of the Lord's mercy as far as we can. Do you see how each of us demonstrates the reverence and regard we have for the days that have been made occasion of such great benefit for us? Hence I beseech you, now above all times let us dispel all worldly thoughts, keep the eye of our mind clear and alert, and in this fashion attend here; let no one come to 222 ST. JOHN...


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