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HOMILIES 315 Let us, then, put a stop to this, and let us not accuse the body, but let us place it in subjection to the soul, in order that, with it held in control, we may obtain everlasting blessings, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be to Him forever and ever. Amen. Homily 76 (John 14.31-15.10) 'Arise, let us go from here. I am the true vine, you are the branches, and my Father is the vine-dresser.'l A lack of spiritual understanding makes the soul weak and ignoble, just as being well instructed in heavenly doctrine makes it great and noble, for, if it does not benefit by the instruction given it, it is weak, not by nature, but by choice. In fact, when I see man, at one time bold, becoming craven at another, I maintain that this behavior is not a defect inherent in his nature, for the qualities inherent in his nature are invariable. Again, when I see those who were just now craven becoming suddenly bold, I once more draw the same conclusion, and ascribe all to their free choice. The disciples also were cowardly before they gained the spiritual understanding they needed, and were deemed worthy of the gift of the Spirit; later, however, they became bolder than lions. And Peter, who had not been able to endure the taunts of a little maid, was crucified head downward, and was scourged, and, though exposed to perils without number, did not hold his tongue. On the contrary, he endured his sufferings as if they were but a dream, so freely did he speak out-not, however, before the crucifixion. Therefore Christ said: 'Arise, let us go from here.' 'Why did He say that, may I ask? Was He unaware of the hour when Judas would approach? Or else was He afraid that I John 14.31·15.1. 316 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM Judas would come there and arrest them and that those who were plotting against Him would approach before He had completed that noblest of His instructions?' Perish the thought! These notions are far removed from His exalted dignity! 'Well, then, if He was not afraid, why in the world did He take them away from there? Why did He not finish His discourse, and then bring them to the garden that was so well known to Judas? Moreover, even if Judas were present, could He not have blinded His opponents' eyes, as He had done even when He was not present? Why, then, did He depart from the supper room?2 He was giving His disciples a short respite. And He was doing this for it was likely that, because they were in a place that was easy of access, they were fearful and apprehensive, both because of the time and by reason of the place. And this was so for it was the dead of night and it was impossible for them even to pay attention to what He was saying. On the contrary, they could only be continually distracted by thoughts of those who were on their way to them. And especially was this true because the discourse of the Master caused them to expect fearful things. For, 'Yet a little while,' He said, 'and I will not be with you, and the prince of this world is coming.' Because, on hearing such words as these, they became deeply disturbed as if they were going to be captured almost at once, He therefore brought them to another place, so that, thinking they were in safety, they would at last listen to Him without trepidation. And this was necessary for they were about to hear teachings of great import. That is why He 2 Whether Christ actually suited the action to the word and left the cenacle at this point is a question that has occupied exegetes down to our own day. St. John Chrysostom's interpretation, though reasonable enough on the whole, does not account for the implication to the contrary in 18.1. See Confraternity Commentary 345. HOMILIES 317 said: 'Arise, let us go from here.' Then He went on to declare: 'I am the vine, you are the branches.' 'What did He wish to imply by the parable?' That it is not possible for anyone to have life if he does not pay attention to Christ's words, and also that the miracles that would later take place would...


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