restricted access Homily 33
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HOMILY 33 "Now, Abram was very rich in cattle, silver and gold. He journeyed to where he had come from, into the desert as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had formerly been, between Bethel and Haggai, to the place of the altar which he had made there in the beginning. "I EEING [305] YOUR GATHERING here today with such enthusiasm and your interest in listening to me, I want to discharge the debt lowe your good selves. I am aware that you for your part have possibly forgotten everything on account of the lapse of many days in the meantime and the fact that we have directed our sermon to other themes. The arrival of the sacred festival interrupted our series : it was not appropriate for us while celebrating the Lord's Cross to have instruction on other matters; instead, each time we felt the need to lay before you a table suited to the occasion . This, of course, was the reason why, when the day of the Betrayal arrived, we interrupted the sequence of our instruction in response to need and directed our words to the betrayer, and then in turn proposed for your consideration thoughts about the Cross. Then, when Resurrection day dawned, it behooved us to instruct your good selves on the Lord's Resurrection, and next to provide you in the days following the Resurrection with a demonstration of it through the wonders that happened afterwards, when we took up the Acts of the Apostles and from there laid before you the customary feast, offering particular exhortation day after day to those who had just been granted the favor of baptism. (2) So now we must remind you of the debt and at long last 1. Gen 13.2-4. This homily, as our Introduction explains and Chrysostom points out below, was delivered after a long gap for Easter and other occasional sermons. Cf. Introduction (1) & (8) in FOTC 74. 276 HOMILY 33 277 proceed to discharge it. You see, even if you are not aware of the kind of debt on account of your being plagued with many cares, like having care of your wife, being concerned for your children, [306] being anxious for daily nourishment, and beset with many other worldly preoccupations, we on the contrary , being hampered by no such worries, can recall the debt to your mind and take steps to discharge it. Don't be surprised if we give evidence of such readiness to repay: this debt is of a kind different from material wealth. I mean, in the latter case the debtor would never be quick to display his readiness to repay, realizing that repaying his debt reduces his own means while increasing the wealth of his creditor. In the case of this spiritual debt, however, it is nothing like that; by repaying his debt the debtor is, on the contrary, all the better off, and the creditors' profit is greater. Hence, in the former case defaulting on debts is frequent, whereas in the latter case great gain accrues to both parties, both debtor and creditors. This is what Paul, too, says in his exhortation on love, "Don't owe anyone anything except to love one another ,"2 to show that' this debt is always reckoned to be due for repayment, not for withholding. You, too, must not be negligent about keeping yourself in readiness to receive repayment : this makes us better off in making repayment, and will prove to be an occasion of greater benefit to you, too. Since, then, this is what this kind of debt is like, the more we pay back the more we increase our wealth according to our greater repayment-come now, let us teach you also the basis of the debt so that you in your turn may more enthusiastically receive what we say, accept our readiness to make repayment, and reward us by attending to our words with enthusiasm. (3) What, then, is the basis of our debt? You remember clearly that we brought to your attention the story of the patriarch -the journey he took down into Egypt on account of the famine, the abduction of Sarah perpetrated by Pharaoh, God's anger against him arising from his care for the just man, against him and all his household, care shown by lead2 . Rom 13.8. 278 ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ing the patriarch to make the return journey from Egypt with great wealth. "Pharaoh gave his men instructions...


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