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St. John Chrysostom ... Eight Homilies (given in 387 A.D.)
against the un-baptized pagans who call themselves jews ...
Warns Catholics against being judaized in Theology and Morals by the Enemies of Truth.
St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407 A.D.) > "Our Master died for us. Will you not take the trouble to say a single word? What excuse or defense will you find for this? Tell me this. If you look the other way when so many souls are perishing, how will you find the confidence to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? I wish I could know which ones are running off to the synagogue. Then I would not have needed your help but I would have straightened them out with all speed."
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This Section contains Homilies III and IV, please see Sections 78, 78.2, and 78.3 for the others.
1. The religion of the Old Testament Israelites was the Catholic Faith unfulfilled, it wasn't "judaism". The man-made fable called "judaism" started in about 200 B.C. when a group of Israelites left God's covenant for talmudic judaism which is based on the pagan Babylonian talmud. The Babylonian paganism was carried out of the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. The Catholic Church unfulfilled wrote the Old Testament and fulfilled wrote the New Testament.
2. See Section 39.1 which explains how the words "jew" and "jews" have fraudulently appeared in the English Old Testament versus the correct "Judean" and "Judeans". The authentic Bible in English is the Douay-Rheims.
3. When the Church and Saint John Chrysostom use the words "jew" or "judaism" they are referring to that group of un-baptized pagans who refer to themselves as "jews".
4. To infer that the un-baptized pagans who call themselves jews have something to do with the Old Testament Israelites is complete 100% error. By fraudulently claiming and believing that they have something to do with God's covenant with Abraham leads to their eternal damnation with the other pagans ("buddhists", "mohammadens", "hindus", etc.) and with the heretics ("lutherans", "baptists", "vatican-2-ists", etc.). After the First Pentecost the Church needed words to identify this group of pagans ("jew" and "jews") just as the Church uses identifiers for other types of pagans ("buddhists", "hindus", mohammedans", etc.).
5. At the time of Christ, those descendants of Abraham who were with Him were the people of the Israelite covenant. Those who were against Him can be called "jews" as this word has become the identifier for the apostate (truth rejecting) Judeans (who were no longer Israelites). See Section 39.2 of this site for dozens of scriptures where God states that His covenant is one of faith not genealogy after He established the faith covenant with Abraham.
Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Osee 2:20 >
"And I will espouse thee to Me in faith: and thou shalt know that I am the Lord."
Against those who keep the first "paschal fast"
ONCE AGAIN A NECESSARY and pressing need has interrupted the sequence of my recent discourses. I must put aside my struggles with the heretics for today and turn my attention to this necessary business. For I was ready to address your loving assembly again on the glory of the only-begotten Son of God. But the untimely obstinacy of those who wish to keep the first paschal fast forces me to devote my entire instruction to their cure. For the good shepherd does more than drive away the wolves; he also is most diligent in caring for his sheep who are sick. What does he gain if the flocks escape the jaws of the wild beasts but are then devoured by disease?
(2) The best general is the one who not only repels the siege engines of the enemy but first puts down rebellion within his own city. He knows well that there will be no victory over an outside foe as long as there is civil war within. Do you not know that there is no more destructive force than rebellion and obstinacy? Listen to the words of Christ: "A kingdom divided against itself shall not stand." And yet, what is more powerful than a kingdom which possesses revenues of money, weapons, walls, fortresses, so large a number of soldiers, horses, and ten thousand other sources of strength?
(3) But even power as great as that is destroyed when it revolts against itself. Nothing produces weakness so effectively as contentiousness and strife; and nothing produces power and strength so effectively as love and concord. When Solomon grasped this truth he said: "A brother that is helped by his brother is like a strong city and kingdom bolted and barred." Do you see the great strength which comes from concord? And do you see the great harm caused by contentiousness? A kingdom in revolt destroys itself. When two brothers are bound together and united into one, they are more unbreakable than any wall.
(4) I know that, by God's grace, most members of my flock are free from this disease and that the sickness involves only a few. But this is no reason for me to relax my care. If only ten, or five, or two, or even one were sick, he must not be neglected. If there is only one worthless outcast. still he is a brother, and Christ died for him. And Christ made great account of the weak ones. He said: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the sea." And again: "As long as you did not do it for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me." And again: "It is not the will of your Father in Heaven that a single one of these little ones should perish."
(5) Is it not absurd, when Christ shows such care for his little ones, that we should refuse to care for them? Do not say: "He is one person." Rather, you must say: "He is one, yes, but if we do not take care of him, he will spread the disease to the rest." Paul said: "A little leaven ferments the whole mass." And our neglect of the little ones is what overturns and destroys everything. Neglected wounds become serious, just as the serious wounds would easily become minor if they receive the proper care.
(6) Moreover, the first thing I have to say to the Judaizers is that nothing is worse than contentiousness and fighting, than tearing the Church asunder and rending into many parts the robe which the robbers did not dare to rip. Are not all the other heresies enough without our tearing each other apart? You must listen to Paul when he says: "But if you bite and devour one another, take heed or you will be consumed by one another."
(7) Tell me this. Do you stray outside the flock and have you no fear of the lion that prowls about outside the fold? "For your enemy, like a lion, goes about seeking whom he may seize." Here you see a shepherd's wisdom. He does not let the lion in among the sheep for fear the lion may terrify the flock. Nor does he drive the lion away from outside the fold. Why? So that he may gather all the sheep together inside the fold, because they are afraid of the wild beast outside. Do you have no reverence and respect for your father? Then fear your foe. If you separate yourself from the flock, your enemy will surely catch you.
(8) Christ, too, could have driven the enemy away from the outside of the fold. But to make you sober and watchful, to make you constantly run to your Mother for refuge, he permitted him to roar outside the fold. Why did he do this? So that when those within the fold hear his roar, they may take refuge together and be more closely bound to one another. Mothers who love their children also do this: when their children cry, they often threaten to throw them to the jaws of the wolves. Of course, they would not throw them to the wolves but they say they will to stop the children from bothering them. Everything Christ did was done to keep us bound together and living at peace with one another.
And so it was that Paul could have accused the Corinthians of many great crimes but he accused them of contentiousness before any other. He could have accused them of fornication, of pride, of taking their quarrels to the pagan courts, of banquets in the shrines of idols. He could have charged that the women did not veil their heads and that the men did. Over and above all this, he could have accused them of neglecting the poor, of the pride they took in their charismatic gifts, and in the matter of the resurrection of the body. But since, along with these, he could also find fault with them because of their dissensions and quarrels with one another, he passed over all the other crimes, and corrected their contentiousness first.
(2) If you will not think I am making a nuisance of myself on this point, I shall clarify it from Paul's own words. He did give top priority to correcting the Corinthians' obstinacy and contentiousness. And he did this even though he could charge them with all those other crimes. Hear what he says about their fornication: "It is actually reported that there is lewd conduct among you." That they were puffed up and proud: "As if I were not coming to you, some are puffed up." Again, that they would plead their cases in the pagan courts: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, bring your case to be judged before unbelievers?" That they ate meat offered to idols: "You cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils." Hear his words of reproach for the women who do not veil their heads and the men who do. "Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraces his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered, disgraces her head. He showed that they neglected the poor when he said: "One is hungry and another drinks overmuch. And again: "or do you despise the Church of God and put to shame the needy?" When they were all jumping for the more important charismatic gifts and no one was satisfied with the less important, he said: "Are all apostles? Are all prophets?" We can conclude that they were raising doubts about the resurrection because he says: "But someone will say: 'How do the dead rise? Or with what kind of body do they come?"
(3) Although he could make so many accusations, his first charge against the Corinthians was dissension and contentiousness. At the very beginning of his letter he said: "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all say the same thing, and that there be no dissensions among you." For he knew, he knew clearly, that this problem was more urgent than the others. If the fornicator, or the braggart, or a man in the grip of any other vice comes frequently to the Church, he will quickly draw profit from the instruction, thrust aside his sin, and return to health.
(4) But when a man has broken away from this assembly, when he has withdrawn from the instruction of the fathers, when he has fled from the physician's clinic, even if he appears to be in good health, he will soon fall sick. The best physicians first quench the fires of fever and then cure the wounds and fractures. That is what Paul did. He first removed the dissension and then cured their wounds limb by limb. And so he spoke of dissension before the other sins, so that the Corinthians would not stand apart in strife, so that they would not choose the leaders whom they should follow, so that they would not divide up the body of Christ into many parts?
(5) But he was talking not only to the Corinthians; he was also speaking to those who would come after them and suffer from the same Corinthian disease. I would be glad to ask those of us who are sick with this illness: What is the Pasch; what is Lent? What belongs to the jews: what belongs to us? Why does their Pasch come once each year; why do we celebrate ours each time we gather to celebrate the mysteries? What does the feast of unleavened bread mean? And I would like to ask them many more questions which contribute to understanding this subject.
(6) If I were to ask them, you would then clearly know how untimely the contentiousness of these men is. They cannot explain what they do. But they refuse to ask anybody, just as if they were wiser than anybody else. They deserve the strongest condemnation because they do not have the answers themselves, but they refuse to follow those who have been appointed to lead them. They have simply risked all they have on this silly practice and are throwing themselves head first down into the depths of danger.
When I have this to say against them, what argument of theirs will seem clever? They ask: "Did you not observe this fast before?" It is not your place to say this to me, but I would be justified in telling you that we, too, fasted at this time in earlier days, but still we put more importance on peace than on the observance of dates. And I say to you what Paul said to the Galatians: "Become like me, because I also have become like you." What does this mean? He was urging them to renounce circumcision, to scorn the Sabbath, the feast days, and all the other observances of the Law. When he saw they were frightened and afraid that they might be subjected to chastisement and punishment for their transgression, he gave them courage by the example of his own actions when he said: "Become like me, because I also have become like you."
(2) For, he said, I did not come from the Gentiles, did l? I was not without experience of the jewish way of life under the Law and the punishment set for those who transgress it, was I? "I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as regards the Law, a Pharisee; as regards zeal, a persecutor of the Church. But the things that were gain to me, these, for the sake of Christ, l counted loss." That is, once and for all I stood aloof from them. Therefore, become like me, for I, too, was as you are.
(3) But why do I speak on my own account? Three hundred Fathers or even more gathered together in the land of Bithynia and ordained this by law; yet you disdain their decrees. You must choose one of two courses: either you charge them with ignorance for their want of exact knowledge on this matter, or you charge them with cowardice because they were not ignorant, but played the hypocrite and betrayed the truth. When you do not abide by what they decreed, this is exactly the choice you must make. But all the events of the Council make it clear that they showed great wisdom and courage at that time. The article of faith they set forth at the Council show how wise they were, because they blocked up the mouths of heretics and, like an impregnable wall, they repelled the treachery of every hostile attack. They proved their courage during the war waged on the Churches and the persecution which had but lately come to an end.
(4) Like champions in battle who have set up many memorials of victory and have suffered many wounds, so, too, these champions of the Churches, who could count the many tortures they had endured for their confession of the faith, came together from every side, bearing on their bodies the marks of Christ's wounds. Some could tell of their hardships in the mines, others of the confiscation of all their possessions, and still others of starvation and continuous floggings. Some could show where the flesh had been torn from their ribs, some where their backs had been broken, some where their eyes had been dug out, and still others where they had lost some other part of their bodies for the sake of Christ. At that time the whole synodal gathering, welded together from these champions, along with their definition of what Christians must believe, also passed a decree that they celebrate the paschal feast in harmony together. They refused to betray their faith in those most difficult times [of persecution]; would they sink to pretense and deceit on the question of the Easter observance?
(5) Look what you do when you condemn Fathers so great, so courageous, so wise. If the Pharisee lost all the blessings he possessed because he condemned the publican, what excuse will you have, what defense will you make for rising up against these great teachers beloved of God, especially since your attack is so unjust and irrational? Did you not hear Christ himself say: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them? But if Christ is in their midst where two or three are gathered together, was not his presence all the more pervasive among the more than three hundred Fathers at Nicaea? Christ was present there, it was Christ who formulated and passed the laws. Yet you condemn not only the Council Fathers but the whole world which approved their judgment.
(6) Do you consider that the jews are wiser than the Fathers who came from everywhere in the world? How can you do that when the jews have been driven from their ancestral commonwealth and way of life and have no sacred festival to celebrate? I hear many say that the Pasch and the feast of unleavened bread are one. But there is no feast of unleavened bread among them, nor is there a Pasch. Why is there no feast of unleavened bread among them? Hear the words of the Lawgiver: "You may not sacrifice the Passover in any one of the cities which the Lord your God gives you, but only in the place in which His name shall be invoked." And Moses was here speaking of Jerusalem.
(7) Do you see how God confined the festival to one city, and later destroyed the city so that, even if it was against their wills, He might lead them away from that way of life? Surely, it is clear to everybody that God foresaw what would come to pass. Why, then, did He bring them together to that land from all over the world if He foresaw that their city would be destroyed? Is it not very obvious that He did this because He wished to bring their ritual to an end? God did bring the ritual to an end, but you go along with the jews, of whom the prophet said: "Who is blind but my children, or deaf but those who lord it over them?"
(8) And against whom did they show their want of sense and feeling? Was it not against the apostles, the prophets, and their teachers? Why must I mention teachers and prophets when they slaughtered their own children? For they did sacrifice their sons and daughters to demons. When they ignored the voice of nature, were they going to observe the festival days? Tell me this. Did they not trample kinship under foot, did they not forget their children, did they not forget the very God who created them? Moses said: "You have forsaken the God that begot you, and have forgotten the God that nurtured you." Were they going to keep the festivals after they had forsaken God? Who could say that?
(9) Christ did keep the Pasch with them. Yet He did not do so with the idea that we should keep the Pasch with them. He did so that He might bring the reality to what foreshadowed the reality. He also submitted to circumcision, kept the Sabbath, observed the festival days, and ate the unleavened bread. But He did all these things in Jerusalem. However, we are subject to none of these things, and on this Paul spoke out loud and clear: "If you be circumcised, Christ shall be of no advantage to you." And again, speaking of the feast of unleavened bread, he said: "Therefore let us keep festival, not with the old leaven, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." For our unleavened bread is not a mixed flour but an uncorrupted and virtuous way of life.
Why did Christ keep the Pasch at that time? The old Pasch was a type of the Pasch to come, and the reality had to supplant the type. So Christ first showed the foreshadowing and then brought the reality to the banquet table. Once the reality has come, the type which foreshadowed it is henceforth lost in its own shadow and no longer fills the need. So do not keep pleading this excuse, but show me that Christ did command us to observe the old Pasch. I am showing you quite the opposite. I am showing you that Christ not only did not command us to keep the festival days but even freed us from the obligation to do so.
(2) Hear what Paul had to say. And when I speak of Paul, I mean Christ; for it is Christ who moved Paul's soul to speak. What, then, did Paul say? "You are observing days, and months, and seasons, and years. I fear for you, lest perhaps I have labored in vain among you." And again: "As often as you shall eat this bread and drink this cup, you shall proclaim the death of the Lord." When he said: "As often as," Paul gave the right and power to decide this to those who approach the mysteries, and freed them from any obligation to observe the festival days.
(3) Now our Pasch and Lent are not one and the same thing: the Pasch is one thing, Lent another. Lent comes once each year; our Pasch is celebrated three times each week, sometimes even four times, or rather as often as we wish. For the Pasch is not a fast but the offering and sacrifice which is celebrated at each religions service That you may know that this is true, listen to Paul when he says: "For Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed," and again: "As often as you shall eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord.
(4) So as often as you approach the sacrificial banquet with a clean conscience, you celebrate the Pasch. You celebrate it not when you fast but when you share in that sacrifice. "For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord." Our Pasch is the proclamation of the Lord's death. The sacrifice which we offer today, that which was offered yesterday, and each day's sacrifice is alike and the same as the sacrifice offered on that Sabbath day; the sacrifice offered on that Sabbath is no more solemn than today's, nor is today's of less value than that; they are one and the same, alike filled with awe and salvation.
(5) Why, then, do we fast for forty days? In the past, and especially at the time when Christ entrusted to us these sacred mysteries, many a man approached the sacrificial banquet without thought or preparation. Since the Fathers realized that it was harmful for a person to approach the mysteries in this heedless fashion, they came together and marked out forty days for people to fast, pray, and gather together to hear the word of God. Their purpose was that we might all scrupulously purify ourselves during this time by our prayers. almsgiving, fasting, vigils tears, confessions, and all the other pious practices. so that we might approach the mysteries with our consciences made as clean as we could make them.
(6) And they did well when they came to our aid and established for us the practice of this Lenten fast. This is clear because, if we keep shouting and proclaiming a fast the whole year through, no one listens to what we say. But as soon as the season of Lent draws near, even the laziest of men rouses himself, even though no one counsels or advises him. Why? He gets advice and counsel from the season of Lent.
(7) So if a jew or other type of pagan asks you why you are fasting, do not tell him that it is because of the Pasch or because of the mystery of the Cross. If you tell him that, you give him an ample grip upon you. Tell him we fast because of our sins and because we are going to approach the mysteries. The Pasch is not a reason for fasting or grief; it is a reason for cheerfulness and joy. The Cross has taken away sin; it was an expiation for the world. a reconciliation for the ancient enmity. It opened the gates of Heaven, changed those who hated into friends; it took our human nature, led it up to Heaven, and seated it at the right hand of God's throne. And it brought to us ten thousand other blessings.
(8) There is no need, then, to grieve or be downcast: we must rejoice and glory in all these things. This is why Paul said: "But God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." And again: "But God commends His charity towards us, because when as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us." John put it like this: "God so loved the world. Tell me, how did God love the world? John passed over all the other signs of God's love and put the Cross in first place. For after he said: "God so loved the world," he said: "That He gave his only-begotten Son," that He be crucified, "that those who believe in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting." If, then, the Cross is the basis and boast of love, let us not say that it is a cause for grief. Heaven forbid that we grieve because of the Cross. We grieve for our sins, and this is why we fast.
Although the catechumen keeps the fast each year, he does not celebrate the Pasch since he does not share in the sacrifice. But even though a man is not observing the Lenten fast, he does celebrate the Pasch as long as he comes to the altar with a clean conscience and shares in the sacrifice-whether it be today, tomorrow, or any day whatsoever. The best time to approach the mysteries is determined by the purity of a man's conscience and not by his observance of suitable seasons.
(2) Yet we do just the opposite. We fail to cleanse our conscience and, even though we are burdened with ten thousand sins, we consider that we have celebrated the Pasch as long as we approach the mysteries on that feast day. But this is certainly not the case. If you approach the altar on the very day of the Sabbath and your conscience be bad, you fail to share in the mysteries and you leave without celebrating the Pasch. But if you wash away your sins and share in the mysteries today, you do celebrate the Pasch in precisely the proper way.
(3) Therefore you must safeguard this exactness and vigor of spirit, not in the observance of the proper times but in your approach to the altar. Now you would elect to endure all things rather than change this practice. So, too, you must disdain it and choose to do or suffer anything so as not to approach the mysteries when you are burdened with sins.
(4) Be sure that God takes no account of such observance of special seasons. Hear Him as He passes judgment on those at His right hand: "You saw Me hungry and gave Me to eat; you saw Me thirsty and gave Me to drink; you saw Me naked and you covered Me." But He charged with quite different conduct those on His left hand. At another time He brought forward another man in a parable and castigated him because He remembered the evil the man had done. For He said: "You wicked servant, I forgave you all the debt. Should not you then have had compassion also on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on you?" Again, when the virgins had no oil in their lamps, He locked them out of the bride chamber. And He cast out another man who came into the feast without a wedding garment because this man was garbed in filthy clothes and was wearing the cloak of his fornication and uncleanness, But no one was ever punished or accused because he observed the Pasch in this or that month.
(5) But why speak of ourselves since we have been set free from all such necessity? We are citizens of a city above in Heaven, where there are no months, no sun, no moon, no circle of seasons. If you wish to give exact attention to the matter, you will see that, even among the jews, little account was made of the season of the Pasch, but they cared greatly about the place for it, namely, Jerusalem. Some men came up to Moses and said to him: "We are unclean through touching the dead body of a man. How shall we avoid failing in regarding the Lord's offering?" He said to them: "Wait here and let me report it to God." Then, after he reported it, he brought back the law which says: "If any man be unclean through touching a dead body, or be afar on a journey and be unable to keep the Pasch in the first month, he shall keep it in the second."
(6) And so is not the observance of the time annulled among the jews so that the Pasch may be observed in Jerusalem? Will you not show greater concern for the harmony of the Church than for the season? So that you may seem to be observing the proper days, will you outrage the common Mother of us all and will you cut asunder the Holy Synod? How could you deserve pardon when you choose to commit sins so enormous for no good reason ?
(7) But why must I speak of the jews? No matter how eagerly and earnestly we wish it, it is not altogether possible for us to observe that day on which He was crucified. This will make it clear. Let us suppose the jews had not sinned, that they were not hard of heart, nor senseless, nor indifferent, nor despisers; suppose they had not fallen from their ancestral way of life but were still carefully observing it. Even if this was the case, we could not, by following in their footsteps, put our finger on the very day on which He was crucified and fulfilled the Pasch. Let me tell how this is the case. When He was crucified it was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread and the day of preparation.
(8) But it is not possible for both of these to fall always on the same day. This year the first day of the feast of unleavened bread falls on Sunday, and the fast must still last for a whole week; According to this, after Passiontide, after the Cross and resurrection have come and gone, we are still fasting. And it has often happened that, after the Cross and resurrection, our fast is still being observed because the week is not yet over. This is why no observance of the exact time is possible.
Let us not quarrel, let us not say: "After fasting these many years, am I to change now?" Change for that very reason. Since you have been so long severed from the Church, come back now to your Mother. No one says: "After I lived as her enemy so long a time, I am ashamed to be reconciled now." You have grounds for shame if you do not change for the better but persist in your untimely contentiousness. That is what destroyed the jews. While they always kept looking for the old customs and life, these were stripped from them and they turned to impiety.
(2) But why do I speak of fasting and the observance of special days? Paul continued to observe the Law and to endure many a toil; he patiently put up with many journeys and hardships; he surpassed all his contemporaries in the exact observance of that way of life. But after he achieved the heights of that life and came to realize that he was doing all this for his own hurt and destruction, he immediately changed. He did not say to himself: "What is this? Am I to lose the reward for this great zeal of mine? Am I to waste all this work?" Rather he was the quicker to change for the very reason that he might continue to suffer that loss. He scorned justification by the Law so that he might receive the justification of faith. And so he loudly proclaimed: "The things that were gain to me I have counted as loss for Christ. And Christ said: "If you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has anything against you, go first and be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift."
(3) What do you mean? If your brother has something against you, Christ does not permit you to offer your sacrifice until you are reconciled to your brother. When you have the whole Church and so many Fathers against you, do you have the hardihood to dare to approach the divine mysteries before you put aside that unseemly enmity? Since this is the way you feel, how could you celebrate the Pasch?
(4) I say this not only to those who are sick but also to you who are in good health. When you who are well see how many are sick, you will show them great care and kindness, you will pick them out, gather them together, and bring them back to their Mother. Whatever they say against us, however they jump at us, no matter what else they do to us, we must not grow weary and stop until we win them back. For there is nothing comparable to peace and harmony.
(5) It is for this reason that, when the Father enters the church, he does not mount to this chair until he has prayed for all of you; when he rises from this chair, he does not begin his instruction until he has first given the peace to all. And when the priests are going to give the blessing, they first pray for peace for you and then begin the blessing.
(6) And when the deacon bids you to pray all together, he also enjoins you in his prayer to ask for the Angel of Peace, and that everything which concerns you be blessed with peace. As he dismisses you from the assembly, he petitions [peace] for you and says: "Go in peace." And without this peace, it is altogether impossible for us to say or do anything. For peace is our nurse and mother. she is very careful to cherish us and foster us. I am not speaking of what is merely called by the name of peace, nor of the peace which comes from sharing meals together, but of the peace which accords with God, the peace which comes from the harmony sent by the Spirit. Many are now tearing this peace asunder by destroying us and exalting the jews. These men consider the jews as more trustworthy teachers than their own Fathers; they believe the account of Christ's passion and death which is given by those who slew Him. What could be more unreasonable than this?
(7) Do you not see that their Passover is the type, while our Pasch is the truth? Look at the tremendous difference between them. The Passover prevented bodily death: whereas the Pasch quelled God's anger against the whole world; the Passover of old freed the jews from Egypt, while the Pasch has set us free from idolatry; the Passover drowned the Pharaoh, but the Pasch drowned the devil; after the Passover came Palestine, but after the Pasch will come Heaven.
(8) Why, then, do you sit beside a lamp after the sun has appeared? Why do you wish to nourish yourself on milk when solid food is being given to you? You were nourished with milk so that you might not remain satisfied with milk: the lamp shone for you that it might guide you and lead you by the hand into the light of the sun. Now that the era of more perfect things has come, let us not run back to the former times, let us not observe the days and seasons and years: rather, let us everywhere be careful to follow the Church by paying heed to charity and peace before all things.
(9) Suppose the Church were to be tripped up and fall. The accurate computation of dates would not succeed in making her slip as much as this division and schism would deserve the blame. But I make no account of the exact date, since God makes no account of it, as I proved when I devoted many discourses to this subject. But the one thing I seek is that we do all things in peace and concord. If we do so, you will not stay home and get drunk while we are fasting with the rest of the people, and the priests are praying together for the whole world.
(10) Note well that this is of the devil's doing and that it is not a single sin, nor two, nor three, but far more than three. It cuts you off from the flock, it makes you ready to hold so many Fathers in scorn, it hurls you into contentiousness, it thrusts you over to the jews, and furthermore it makes you a scandal both to your own family and to strangers. How can we blame the jews for waiting for you in their houses when it is you who go running to them?
(11) These sins are not the only problem. During those days of the fast great harm could come to you from your failure to take advantage of the Scripture readings, the religious meetings in the church, the blessing, and the prayers said in common. Great harm could come to you while you and your bad conscience are spending this whole time in fear and dread that, like some foreigner or stranger, you may be caught in your sinful act. And during all this time, in common with the Church, you should be discharging all your religious duties in a spirit of confidence, pleasure, good cheer, and full freedom.
(12) The Church does not recognize the exact observance of dates. In the beginning the Fathers decided to come together from widely separated places and to flux the Easter date; the Church paid respect to the harmony of their thinking. loved their oneness of mind, and accepted the date they enjoined. My earlier remarks have proved adequately that it is impossible for us or you or any other man to arrive at the exact date of the Lord's day. So let us stop fighting with shadows, let us stop hurting ourselves in the big things while we are indulging our rivalry over the small.
(13) Fasting at this or that time is not a matter for blame. But to rend asunder the Church, to be ready for rivalry, to create dissension, to rob oneself continuously of the benefits of religious meetings-these are unpardonable, these do demand an accounting, these do deserve serious punishment.
(14) I could have said much more than this. What I have said is enough for those who heed me; those who fail to heed my words will not be helped even if I should have much more to say. So let me finish my discourse at this point. and let us all pray together that our brothers come back to us. Let us pray that they cling fondly to peace and stand apart from untimely rivalry. Let us pray that they scorn this sluggish spirit of theirs and find a great and lofty understanding. Let us pray that they be set free from this observance of days so that all of us, with one heart and with one voice, may give glory to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and power now and forever, world without end. Amen.
Against the jews and the trumpets of their "pasch"
Delivered at Antioch in the Great Church
AGAIN THE jews, the most miserable and wretched of all men, are going to fast, and again we must make secure the flock of Christ. As long as no wild beast disturbs the flock, shepherds, as they stretch out under an oak or pine tree and play their flutes, let their sheep go off to graze with full freedom. But when the shepherds feel that the wolves will raid, they are quick to throw down the flute and pick up their slingshots; they cast aside the pipe of reeds and arm themselves with clubs and stones. They take their stand in front of the flock, raise a loud and piercing shout, and oftentimes the sound of their shout drives the wolf away before he strikes.
(2) I, too, in the past, frolicked about in explicating the Scriptures, as if I were sporting in some meadow; I took no part in polemics because there was no one causing me concern. But today the jews, who are more dangerous than any wolves, are bent on surrounding my sheep; so I must spar with them and fight with them so that no sheep of mine may fall victim to those wolves.
(3) That fast will not be upon us for ten days or more. But do not be surprised that from today on I am taking up my tools and building a fence around your souls. This is what the hard-working farmer does. When he has a rushing stream nearby which may wash away the fields he has tilled, he does not wait for winter. Long beforehand he fences in the banks, builds tip dikes, digs ditches, and makes every preparation against the flood. While the stream runs quietly and is low in its bed, it is a simpler matter to restrain it; when it has become swollen and is swept along with a violent rush of waters, it is no longer so simple to oppose the flood. And so it is that long beforehand the farmer anticipates the surge of the torrent and contrives by every means to keep his fields secure in every way.
(4) As well as farmers, every soldier, sailor, and reaper makes it a practice to prepare ahead. Before the hour of battle, the soldier cleans off his breastplate, examines his shield, makes ready the bridle and bit, feeds and cares for his horse, and sees to it that he is well prepared in every way. Before the sailor launches his ship into the harbor's waters, he prepares the keel, repairs the sides, hews and shapes the oars, stitches together the sails, and makes ready all the other equipment of his ship. Many days before the harvest, the reaper sharpens his sickle. gets ready the threshing-floor, his oxen, his wagon, and everything else which may help him in the harvest. Indeed you can see men everywhere making preparations for their business beforehand so that, when the time does come, it is an easy matter for them to carry on their enterprise.
(5) I am following the example of these men. Many days beforehand I am making your souls secure by exhorting you to flee from that accursed and unlawful fast. Do not tell me that the jews are fasting; prove to me that it is God's will that they fast. If it be not God's will, then their fasting is more unlawful than any drunkenness. For we must not only look at what they do but we must also seek out the reason why they do it.
(6) What is done in accordance with God's will is the best of all things even if it seems to be bad. What is done contrary to God's will and decree is the worst and most unlawful of all things-even if men judge that it is very good. Suppose someone slays another in accordance with God's will. This slaying is better than any loving-kindness. Let someone spare another and show him great love and kindness against God's decree. To spare the other's life would be more unholy than any slaying. For it is God's will and not the nature of things that makes the same actions good or bad.
Listen to me so that you may learn that this is true. Ahab once captured a king of Syria and, contrary to God's decree, saved his life. He had the Syrian king enjoy a seat by his side and sent him off with great honor. About that time a prophet came to his companion and "said to him: 'In the word of the Lord, strike me.' But his companion was not willing to strike him. And the prophet said to him: 'Because you would not hearken to the word of the Lord, behold, you will depart from me and a lion will strike you.' And he departed from him, and the lion found him and struck him. Then the prophet found another man and said: 'Strike me.' And the man did strike him and wounded him, and the prophet bandaged up his face."
(2) What greater paradox than this could there be? The man who struck the prophet was saved; the one who spared the prophet was punished. Why? That you may learn that, when God commands, you must not question too much the nature of the action; you have only to obey. So that the first man might not spare him out of reverence, the prophet did not simply say: "Strike me" but said: "Strike me in the word of God. That is, God commands it; seek no further. It is the King who ordains it; reverence the rank of him who commands and with all eagerness heed his word. But the man lacked the courage to strike him and, on this account, he paid the ultimate penalty. But by the punishment he subsequently suffered, he encourages us to yield and obey God's every command.
(3) But after the second man had struck and wounded him, the prophet bound his own head with a bandage, covered his eyes, and disguised himself. Why did he do this? He was going to accuse the king and condemn him for saving the life of the king of the Syrians. Now Ahab was an impious man and always a foe to the prophets. The prophet did not wish Ahab to recognize him and then drive him from his sight; if the king drove him away, he would not hear the prophet's words of correction. So the prophet concealed his face and any statement of his business in the hope that this would give him the advantage when he did speak and that he might get the king to agree to the terms he wanted.
(4) "When the king was passing by, the prophet called aloud to him and said: 'Your servant went forth to the campaign of war. Behold, a man brought another man to me and said to me: "Guard this man for me. If he shall leap away and bound off, it will be your life for his life, or you will pay a talent of silver." And it happened that as your servant turned his eyes this way and that, the man was not there.' And the king of Israel said to him: 'This is your judgment before me: You slew the man.' And the prophet hurried to take the bandage from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized that he was one of the sons of the prophets. And he said to the king: 'So says the Lord: "Because you let go from your hand a man worthy of death, it will be your life for his life, and your people for his people." ...
(5) Do you see how not only God but men make this kind of judgment because both God and men heed the end and the causes rather than the nature of what is done? Certainly even the king said to him: "This is your judgment before me: you slew the man." You are a murderer, he said, because you let an enemy go. The prophet put on the bandage and presented the case as if it were not the king but somebody else on trial, so that the king might pass the proper sentence. And, in fact, this did happen. For after the king condemned him, the prophet tore off the bandage and said: "Because you let go from your hand a man worthy of death, it will be your life for his life, and your people for his people."
(6) Did you see what a penalty the king paid for his act of kindness? And what punishment he endured in return for his untimely sparing of his foe? The one who spared a life is punished; another, who slew a man, was held in esteem. Phinehas certainly slew two people in a single moment of time-a man and his wife; and after he slew them, he was given the honor of the priesthood. His act of bloodshed did not defile his hands; it even made them cleaner.
(7) So you see that he who struck the prophet goes free, while he who refused to strike him perishes; you see that he who spared a man's life is punished, while he who refused to spare a life is held in esteem. Therefore, always look into the decrees of God before you consider the nature of your own actions. Whenever you find something which accords with His decree, approve that-and only that.
Let us examine the matter of fasting and apply this rule to it. Suppose we should not apply this rule but merely take the act of fasting and consider it with no reference to anything else. The result will be great tumult and confusion. It is true that highwaymen, grave-robbers, and sorcerers have their sides torn to pieces; it is also true that the martyrs undergo this same suffering. What is done is the same, but the purpose and reason why it is done is different. And so it is that there is a great difference between the criminals and martyrs.
(2) In these cases we not only consider the torture but we first look for the intention and the reasons why the torture is inflicted. And this is why we love the martyrs-not because they are tortured but because they are tortured for the sake of Christ. But we turn our backs on the robbers-not because they are being punished but because they are being punished for their wickedness.
(3) So, too, in the matter of fasting, you must pass a judgment. If you see people fasting for the sake of God, approve what they do; if you see that they do this against God's will, turn your back on them and hate them more than you do those who drink, revel, and carouse. And in the case of this fasting we must inquire not only into the reason for fasting but we must consider also the place and the time.
(4) But before I draw up my battle line against the jews, I will be glad to talk to those who are members of our own body, those who seem to belong to our ranks although they observe the jewish rites and make every effort to defend them. Because they do this, as I see it, they deserve a stronger condemnation than any jew. Not only the wise and intelligent but even those with little reason and understanding would agree with me in this. I need no clever arguments, no rhetorical devices, no prolix periodic sentences to prove this. It is enough to ask them a few simple questions and then trap them by their answers.
(5) What, then, are the questions? I will ask each one who is sick with this disease: Are you a Christian? Why, then, this zeal for jewish practices? Are you a jew? Why then, are you making trouble for the Church? Does not a Persian side with the Persians? Is not a barbarian eager for what concerns the barbarians? Will a man who lives in the Roman empire not follow our laws and way of life? Tell me this. If ever anyone living among us is caught in collusion siding with the barbarians, is he not immediately punished? He is given neither hearing nor examination, even if he has ten thousand arguments in his own defense. If ever anyone living among the barbarians is clearly following Roman custom and law, again, will he not suffer the same punishment? How, then, do you expect to be saved by defecting to that unlawful way of life?
(6) The difference between the jews and us in not a small one, is it? Is the dispute between us over ordinary, everyday matters, so that you think the two religions are really one and the same? Why are you mixing what cannot be mixed? They crucified the Christ whom you adore as God. Do you see how great the difference is? How is it, then, that you keep running to those who slew Christ when you say that you worship Him whom they crucified? You do not think, do you, that I am the one who brings up the law on which these charges are based, nor that I make up the form which the accusation takes? Does not the Scripture treat the jews in this way?
(7) Hear what Jeremiah says against those same jews: "Go off to Kedar and see; send off to the islands of the Kittim and find out if such things have happened. What things? "If the gentiles will change their gods, and indeed they are not gods, but you have changed your glory and from it you will derive no profit." He did not say: "You have changed your God," but, "your glory." What he means is this. Those who worship idols and serve demons are so unshaken in their errors that they choose not to abandon them nor desert them for the truth. But you, who worship the true God, have cast aside the religion of your fathers and have gone over to strange ways of worship. You did not show the same firmness in regard to the truth that they did in regard to their error. That is why Jeremiah says: "Find out if such things have happened, if the gentiles will change their gods, and indeed they are not gods; but you have changed your glory and from it you will derive no profit." He did not say: "You have changed your God," for God does not change. But he did say: "You have changed your glory." You did no harm to me, God says, because no harm has come to me. But you did dishonor yourselves. You did not make my glory less, but you did diminish your own.
(8) Let me also say this to those who are our own-if I must call our own those who side with the jews. Go to the synagogues and see if the jews have changed their fast; see if they kept the pre-Paschal fast with us; see if they have taken food on that day. But theirs is not a fast; it is a transgression of the law, it is a sin, it is trespassing. Yet they did not change. But you did change your glory and from it you will derive no profit; you did go over to their rites.
(9) Did the jews ever observe our pre-Paschal fast? Did they ever join us in keeping the feast of the martyrs? Did they ever share with us the day of the Epiphanies? They do not run to the truth, but you rush to transgression. I call it a transgression because their observances do not occur at the proper time. Once there was a proper time when they had to follow those observances, but now there is not. That is why what was once according to the Law is now opposed to it.
Let me say what Elijah said against the jews. He saw the unholy life the jews were living: at one time they paid heed to God, at another they worshipped idols. So he spoke some such words as these: "How long will you limp on both legs? If the Lord our God is with you, come, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him." Let me, too, now say this against these Judaizing Christians. If you judge that judaism is the true religion, why are you causing trouble to the Church? But if Christianity is the true faith, as it really is, stay in it and follow it. Tell me this. Do you share with us in the mysteries, do you worship Christ as a Christian, do you ask Him for blessings, and do you then celebrate the festival with His foes? With what purpose, then, do you come to the Church?
(2) I have said enough against those who say they are on our side but are eager to follow the jewish rites. Since it is against the jews that I wish to draw up my battle line, let me extend my instruction further. Let me show that, by fasting now, the jews dishonor the law and trample underfoot God's commands because they are always doing everything contrary to his decrees. When God wished them to fast, they got fat and flabby? When God does not wish them to fast, they get obstinate and do fast; when He wished them to offer sacrifices, they rushed off to idols; when He does not wish them to celebrate the feast days, they are all eager to observe them.
(3) This is why Stephen said to them: "You always oppose the Holy Spirit." This is the one thing, he says, in which you show your zeal: in doing the opposite to what God has commanded. And they are still doing that today. What makes this clear? The Law itself. In the case of the jewish festivals the Law demanded observance not only of the tune but also the place. In speaking about this feast of the Passover, the Law says to them something such as this: "You will not be able to keep the Passover in any of the cities which the Lord your God gives to you." The Law bids them keep the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and in the city of Jerusalem. The Law also narrowed down the time and place for the observance of Pentecost, when it commanded them to celebrate the feast after seven weeks, and again, when it stated: "In the place which the Lord your God chooses." So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles.
(4) Now let us see which of the two, time or place, is more necessary, even though neither the one nor the other has the power to save. Must we scorn the place but observe the time? Or should we scorn the time and keep the place? What I mean is something such as this. The Law commanded that the Passover be held in the first month and in Jerusalem, at a prescribed time and in a prescribed place. Let us suppose that there are two men keeping the Passover. Suppose one of them neglects the place but observes the time; suppose the other observes the place but neglects the time. Let the one who observes the time but neglects the place celebrate the Passover in the first month, but far away from Jerusalem; and let the one who observes the place but neglects the time celebrate the feast in Jerusalem but in the second month instead of the first.
(5) Next, let us see which of these two is charged and accused, and which receives approval and esteem. Will it be the one who transgressed in the matter of time but observed the place, or the one who neglected the place but observed the time? If the man who transgressed about the time so as to celebrate the feast in Jerusalem clearly deserves esteem, but the one who observed the time while neglecting the place deserves to be charged and accused for his impious action it is quite obvious that those who do not keep the Passover in the proper place are transgressing the Law, even if they maintain a thousand times over that they are observing the proper time.
(6) Who will make this clear to us? Moses himself. As he tells it, even after some men had observed the Passover outside Jerusalem, "they came up to Moses and said: 'We are unclean through touching the body of a dead man. We should not fail to offer the Lord's offering at its proper time among the sons of Israel, should we'?.' And Moses said to them: 'Stay here and I shall listen to what the Lord will command in your regard.' And the Lord spoke to Moses and said: 'Speak to the sons of Israel and say: "If any man be unclean through the body of a dead man, or if he be afar off oil a journey, whether he be one of you or of your descendants, he shall keep the Pasch in the second month." ...
(7) He means something such as this. If anyone be away from home in the first month. let him not keep the Passover outside the city: but let him return to Jerusalem and keep it in the second month. Let him disregard the time so as not to fail in the matter of the city. In this way he shows that observance of the place is more necessary than observance of the time.
(8) But what could the jews say if they observe the Passover outside the city of Jerusalem? Since they transgress in the more necessary matter of place, their observance in the less important matter of time cannot be urged in their defense. The result is that they are guilty of the worst transgression of the Law, even if it is obvious a thousand times over that they are not neglecting the matter of time.
(9) This is certain not only from what I have said but also from the prophets. What excuse would the jews of today have when it is clear that the jews of old never offered sacrifice, nor sang hymns in an alien land, nor did they observe any such fasts as they do today? To be sure, the jews of old were expecting to recover the way of life in which they could observe these rituals. Therefore, they remained obedient to the Law and did what it commanded, for the Law told them to expect this. But the jews of today have no hope of recovering their forefathers' way of life. In what prophet can they find proof that they will? They have no hope, but they cannot bear to give up these practices. And yet, even if they were expecting to recover the old way of life, even so they ought to be imitating those holy men of old by neither fasting nor observing any other such ritual.
To prove to you that the jews in exile observed none of these rituals, hear what they said to those who asked them to do so. For their barbarian captors were urging them by force and demand to play their musical instruments. "Sing to us a hymn of the Lord," they said. But the jews clearly understood that the Law commanded them not to do so. Therefore, they said: "How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land?" And, again, the three boys who were captives in Babylon said; "At this time we have no prince or prophet nor place to offer sacrifice in your sight and find mercy." Certainly there was much room for a place of sacrifice in the country, but since the temple was not there, they steadfastly refrained from offering sacrifice.
(2) And again God spoke to His people through the lips of Zechariah: "For these seventy years you have not kept a fast for Me, have you? He was speaking of the captivity. Tell me. By what right, then, do you jews fast today, when your ancestors neither offered sacrifices, nor fasted, nor kept the feasts? And this makes it especially clear that they did not observe the Passover. Where there was no sacrifice, there no festival was held, because all the feasts had to be celebrated with a sacrifice.
(3) Let me provide proof for this very point. Listen to the words of Daniel: "In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate not desirable bread, and neither flesh nor wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself with ointment in those weeks. And it came to pass on the twenty-fourth day of the first month that I saw the vision. Pay careful heed to me here, for this text makes it clear that they did not observe the Passover. Let me tell you how this is. The jews were not permitted to fast during the days of the feast of unleavened bread. But for twenty-one days Daniel took no food at all. And what proves that the twenty-one days included the days of the feast of unleavened bread? We learn this from what he said, namely, that it was on the twenty-fourth day of the first month.
(4) But the Passover comes to an end on the twenty-first of that month. If they began the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and then continued it for seven days, they then come to the twenty-first. Nonetheless, Daniel steadfastly continued his fast even after the Passover had come and gone. For if Daniel had begun his fast on the third day of the first month and then continued through a full twenty-one days, he passed the fourteenth, went on for seven days after that, and then kept fasting for three more days.
(5) How, then, do the jews of today avoid being cursed and defiled? The holy ones of old followed no such observances of what the Law prescribed, because they were in a strange land. Are today's jews doing just the opposite so that they may stir up contentiousness and strife? If some of the holy ones of old who spoke and acted this way and were lax and irreverent, perhaps we would have considered their failure to observe these precepts as a sign of their laxity. But they loved and revered God, they gave their very lives for what God had decreed. So it is abundantly clear that failure to keep the Law was not the result of their laxity. Rather, their failure to keep the Law was prompted by the Law itself, because the Law said they must not observe those rituals outside Jerusalem.
(6) This brings us to a conclusion on another matter of great importance. The observances regarding sacrifices, Sabbaths, new moons, and all such things prescribed by the jewish way of life of that day were not essential. Even when they were observed they could make no great contribution to virtue; when neglected they could not make the excellent man worthless, nor degrade in any way the sanctity of his soul. But those men of old, while still on earth, manifested by their piety a way of life that rivals the way the angels live. Yet they followed none of these observances, they slew no beasts in sacrifice, they kept no feast, they made no display of fasting. But they were so pleasing to God that they surpassed this human nature of ours and, by the lives they lived, they drew the whole world to a knowledge of God.
(7) Who could match a Daniel? Who could match the three boys in Babylon? Did they not anticipate the greatest commandment which the Gospels give, the commandment which is the chief source of all blessings? Had they not already proved this by their deeds? For John says: "Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life of his friends. But they laid down their lives for God.
(8) We must admire them for this. But we must also admire them because they were not doing it for any reward. This is why the boys in Babylon said: "There is a God in Heaven, and He can save us; but if He will not, be it known, O king, that we will not worship your gods." The prophet means: The reward is sufficient for us that we are dying for God. And they gave proof of this great virtue even though they were observing none of the Law's prescriptions.
You jews will say: "Why, then, did God impose these prescriptions if He did not wish them observed?" And I say to you: If He wished them observed, why, then, did He destroy your city? God had to do one or the other of two things if He wished these prescriptions to remain in force: either He had to command you not to sacrifice in one place, since He intended to scatter you to every corner of the world; or, if He wished you to offer sacrifice only in Jerusalem, He was obliged not to scatter you to every corner of the world and He should have made that one city impregnable, because it was there alone that sacrifice has to be offered.
(2) Again the jews will say: "What is this, then? Was God contradicting Himself when He ordered the jews to sacrifice in one place but then barred them from that very place?" By no means! God is very consistent. He did not wish you to offer sacrifices from the beginning, and I bring forward as my witness of this the very prophet who said: "Hear the word of the ... Lord, you rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah." But it was really to the jews the prophet spoke, not to those dwelling in Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet he calls the jews by the names of these people because, by imitating their evil lives, the jews had developed a kinship with those who dwelt in those cities.
(3) In fact Isaiah called the jews dogs and Jeremiah called them mare-mad horses This was not because they suddenly changed natures with those beasts but because they were pursuing the lustful habits of those animals. "'What care I for the number of your sacrifices?' says the Lord. But it is clear that those who dwelt in Sodom never offered sacrifices. Isaiah is aiming his remarks against the jews when he calls them by the name of those brute animals, and he does so for the reason I just mentioned." 'What care I for the number of your sacrifices' says the Lord 'I am filled up with your holocausts of rams I desire not the fat of sheep, and the blood of bulls, not even if you come to appear before Me. For who required all these things from your hands?' Did you hear His voice clearly saying that he did not require these sacrifices from you from the beginning? If He had made sacrifice a necessity, He would also have subjected the first jews to this way of life and all the patriarchs who flourished before the jews of Isaiah's day.
(4) Then the jews will ask: "How is it that He straightaway did permit the jews to sacrifice?" He was giving in to their weakness. Suppose a physician sees a man who is suffering from fever and finds him in a distressed and impatient mood. Suppose the sick man has his heart set on a drink of cold water and threatens, should he not get it, to find a noose and hang himself, or to hurl himself over a cliff. The physician grants his patient the lesser evil, because he wishes to prevent the greater and to lead the sick man away from a violent death.
(5) This is what God did. He saw the jews choking with their mad yearning for sacrifices. He saw that they were ready to go over to idols if they were deprived of sacrifices. I should say, He saw that they were not only ready to go over, but that they had already done so. So He let them have their sacrifices, the time when the permission was granted should make it clear that this is the reason. After they kept the festival in honor of the evil demons, God yielded and permitted sacrifices. What He said was this: "You are all eager and avid for sacrifices. If sacrifice you must, then sacrifice to Me." But even if He permitted sacrifices, this permission was not to last forever: in the wisdom of His ways, He took the sacrifices away from them again.
(6) Let me use the example of the physician again - there is really no reason why I should not. After he has given into the patient's craving, he gets a drinking cup from his home and gives instructions to the sick man to satisfy his thirst from this cup and no other. When he has gotten his patient to agree, he leaves secret orders with the servants to smash the cup to bits; in this way he proposes, without arousing the patient's suspicion, to lead him secretly away from the craving on which he has set his heart.
(7) This is what God did, too. He let the jews offer sacrifice but permitted this to be done in Jerusalem and nowhere else in the world. After they had offered sacrifices for a short time, God destroyed the city. Why? The physician saw to it that the cup was broken. By seeing to it that their city was destroyed, God led the jews away from the practice of sacrifice, though it was against their will. If God were to have come right out and said: "Keep away from sacrifice," they would not have found it easy to keep away from this madness for offering victims. But now, by imposing the necessity of offering sacrifice in Jerusalem, He led them away from this mad practice: and they never noticed what He had done.
(8) Let me make the analogy clear. the physician is God, the cup is the city of Jerusalem, the patient is the implacable jewish people, the drink of cold water is the permission and authority to offer sacrifices. The physician has the cup destroyed and, in this way, keeps the sick man from what he demands at an ill-suited time. God destroyed the city itself, made it inaccessible to all, and in this way led the jews away from sacrifices. If He did not intend to make ready an end to sacrifice, why did God, who is omnipresent and fills the universe, confine so sacred a ritual to a single place? Why did He confine worship to sacrifices, the sacrifices to a place, the place to a time, and the time to a single city, and then destroy the city? It is indeed a strange and surprising thing. the whole world is left open to the jews, but they are not permitted to sacrifice there; Jerusalem alone is inaccessible to them, and that is the only place where they are permitted to offer sacrifice.
(9) Even if a man be completely lacking in understanding, should it not be clear and obvious to him why Jerusalem was destroyed? Suppose a builder lays the foundation for a house, then raises up the walls, arches over the roof, and binds together the vault of the roof with a single keystone to support it. If the builder removes the keystone, he destroys the bond which holds the entire structure together. This is what God did. He made Jerusalem what we might call the keystone which held together the structure of worship. When he overthrew the city, he destroyed the rest of the entire structure of that way of life.
Let then my battle with the jews wait awhile. I did fight a skirmish of words with them today, but I said only what was enough to save our brothers from danger. Perhaps I said much more than that. But I must now exhort those of you who are here in Church to show great concern for the fellow members of our body. I do not want to hear you say: "What concern is this of mine? Why interfere and meddle in other people's affairs?"
(2) Our Master died for us. Will you not take the trouble to say a single word? What excuse or defense will you find for this? Tell me this. If you look the other way when so many souls are perishing, how will you find the confidence to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? I wish I could know which ones are running off to the synagogue. Then I would not have needed your help but I would have straightened them out with all speed.
(3) Whenever your brother needs correction, even if you must lay down your life, do not refuse him. Follow the example of your Master. If you have a servant or if you have a wife, be very careful to keep them at home. If you refuse to let them go to the theater, you must refuse all the more to let them go to the synagogue. To go to the synagogue is a greater crime than going to the theater. What goes on in the theater is, to be sure, sinful; what goes on in the synagogue is godlessness. When I say this I do not mean that you let them go to the theater, for the theater is wicked; I say it so that you will be all the more careful to keep them away from the synagogue.
(4) What is it that you are rushing to see in the synagogue of the jews who fight against God? Tell me, is it to hear the trumpeters? You should stay at home to weep and groan for them, because they are fighting against God's command, and it is the devil who leads them in their revels and dance. As I said before, if there once was a time when God did permit what is against His will, now it is a violation of His law and grounds for punishments beyond number. Long ago, when the jews did have sacrifices, they did sound their trumpets; now God does not permit them to do this.
(5) At least listen to the reason why they got the trumpets. God said to Moses: "Make for yourself trumpets of beaten silver. Next God explained how the trumpets were to be used, for he went on to say: "You will sound them over the holocausts, and the sacrifices for your deliverance.
(6) But where is the altar? Where is the ark? Where is the tabernacle and the holy of holies? Where is file priest? Where are the cherubim of glory? Where is the golden altar of incense? Where is the mercy-seat? Where is the bowl? Where are the drink offerings? Where is the fire sent down from Heaven? Did you lose all those and keep only the trumpets? Do you Christians not see that what the jews are doing is mockery rather than worship?
(7) I blame the jews for violating the Law. But I blame you much more for going along with the lawbreakers, not only those of you who run to the synagogues but also those of you who have the power to stop the judaizers but are unwilling to do so. Do not say to me: "What do I have in common with him? He is a stranger, and I do not know him." I say to you that as long as he is a believer, as long as he shares with you in the same mysteries, as long as he comes to the same Church, he is more closely related to you than your own kinsmen and friends. Remember, it is not only those who commit robbery who pay the penalty for their crime; those, too, who could have stopped them but did not, pay the same penalty. Those guilty of impiety are punished, and so, too, are those who could have led them from godless ways but did not, because they were too timid or lazy to be willing to do so.
(8) To be sure, the man who buried his talent gave it back to his master whole and entire; yet he was punished because he did not make a profit from it. Suppose, then, that you yourself remain pure and free from blame; if you fail to make a profit from your talent, if you fail to bring back to salvation your brother who is perishing, you will suffer the same punishment which he does.
(9) Is it some great burden I am asking of you, my beloved? Let each one of you bring back for me one of your brothers to salvation. Let each one of you interfere and meddle in your brother's affairs so that we may come to tomorrow's service with great confidence, because we are bringing gifts more valuable than any others, because we are bringing back the souls of those who have wandered away. Even if we must suffer revilement, even if we must be beaten, even if we must endure any other pain whatsoever, let us do everything to win these brothers back. Since these are sick brothers who trample us underfoot, revile us, and rail against us, we are not stung by their insults; we want to see one thing and only one thing: the return to health of him who behaved in this outrageous way.
(10) Many a time a sick man tears the physician's clothes. But the physician does not let this stop him from trying to cure his patient. It is normal, then, for physicians to show such concern for their patients' bodily health. When so many souls are perishing, is it right for us to slacken our efforts and to think we are suffering no terrible harm, even if our own members are rotting with disease? Paul did not think so. What did he say? "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not on fire?" See to it that you catch this fire.
(1l) Suppose you see your brother perishing. Even if he reviles you, if he insults you, if he strikes you, if he threatens to become your foe, if he menaces you in any other way, show your courage and endure all these insults so that you may win his salvation. If he should become your foe, God will be your friend and will give you in return many great blessings on that day.
(12) May the prayers of the Saints save those who have wandered into error, may you who are faithful be successful in your hunt, may those who have blasphemed God be freed from their ungodliness and come to know Christ, who died for them on the Cross, so that all of us may, with one accord and one voice, give glory to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and power together with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
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Immaculate Heart of Mary ~ Our Lady of Good Remedy ~ Our Lady of La Salette ~
Immaculate Heart of Mary