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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Sexagesima Sunday

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
8th February 2015

On Saints and Sinners by St. John Chrysostom

Let no sinner despair: let no just man give way to sloth. Neither let the just be presumptuous, for it often happens that the harlot outstrips him; nor let the sinner be downcast, for he may overtake those who are first.

As often as we return to the burning charity of God, He no longer remembers our former sins. What was worse than Manasses? Yet he was able to appease God. Who was more blessed than Solomon? But torpor made him fall. Indeed, I can show the two things happening in one man; in Solomon's father, for he himself was just and became wicked. Who was more blessed than Judas? Yet Judas became a traitor. What could be more miserable than Matthew? But he became an evangelist. What was worse than Paul? Still, Paul became an apostle. Who was more zealous than Simon? And yet Simon himself became the most wretched of all. How many more of the same vicissitudes would you contemplate - those both of the past and those which are taking place every day? So I say, neither let the man who is on the stage despair, nor let the man who is in the Church make too bold. To the latter it was said: He who seems to stand, let him be careful lest he fall, and to the former: Does the fallen man not rise up again? and Restore languid hands and disabled knees. Again, to the just it was said: Watch, but to sinners: Arise, thou who sleep, and rise from the dead.

The former have need to watch over what they possess, and the latter to become that which they are not as yet: the just to preserve their health, sinners to put off their sickness. For they are sick, but many of the sick are sound, and some of the sound, by their carelessness, become sick. For it was to these that Our Lord said, "Go, you are sound, sin no more, lest something worse should befall you"; but to sinners, "Will you be made sound?" "Take up your bed and walk, and go into your house".

Sin is indeed a dire paralysis, or, rather, it is not only a paralysis, but something more fearful. For a paralysed man is not only lacking good things, but is also prey to bad ones. Still, if you are even in this state, and are willing to make a small effort to rise, all sins are remitted.

Christ is at hand now as then, and He says, Take up your bed. Only be willing to rise; do not lose heart. Rahab was a harlot, yet she was saved; and the thief was a murderer, but he became a citizen of paradise; and Judas, being in the society of the Master, was lost, whilst the thief on the cross became a disciple. These are God's paradoxes. Thus it was that the Magi found favour, that a publican became an evangelist, and a blasphemer became an apostle. Consider these things, and never despair, but be of good heart always, and raise yourself up. Keep to that path alone which leads above. Let us then, fly from evil and choose the good, so that we may arrive at both present and future rewards.