Homily (mp3 and notes): Bearing the Burdens of the Weak

In this episode, Fr. Anthony challenges Christians to call down grace from above by “bearing the burdens” of the weak.  Enjoy the show!

Check out this episode!

Here are St. John Chrysostom’s words on this Sunday’s epistles’s reading (I preached from his notes).

Romans 15:1-17
From St. John Chrysostom

Chap. xv. ver. 1. “We then that are strong, ought”—it is “we ought,” not “we are so kind as to.” What is it we ought to do?—“to bear the infirmities of the weak.”

See how he has roused their attention by his praises, not only by calling them powerful, but also by putting them alongside of himself. And not by this only, but by the advantage of the thing he again allures them, and by its not being burdensome. For thou, he says, art powerful, and art no whit the worse for condescending.

And this we are to do not in this case only, but also in the case of those who are weak in other respects. As, for instance, if any be passionate, or insolent, or has any such like failing bear with him. And how is this to be? Listen to what comes next. For after saying “we ought to bear,” he adds, “and not to please ourselves.”1625

Ver. 2. “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”

For glory from things of the world soon flies away, but that from things of the Spirit is abiding, if thou do it to edification.

Ver. 3. “For even Christ pleased not Himself.”

And this he always does. For when he was upon the subject of alms, he brought Him forward and said, “Ye know the grace of the Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.” (2 Cor. viii. 9.) And when he was exhorting to charity, it was from Him that he exhorted in the words “As Christ also loved us.” (Eph. v. 25.)

The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell upon Me.” (Ps. lxix. 9.) But what is the import of, “He pleased not Himself?” He had power not to have been reproached, power not to have suffered what He did suffer, had He been minded to look to His own things. But yet He was not so minded. But through looking to our good He neglected His own. And why did he not say, “He emptied Himself?” (Phil. ii. 7.)

Ver. 4. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime,” he says, “were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.”

That is, that we might not fall away, (for there are sundry conflicts within and without), that being nerved and comforted by the Scriptures, we might exhibit patience, that by living in patience we might abide in hope. For these things are productive of each other, patience of hope, and hope of patience. And both of them are brought about by the Scriptures. Then he again brings his discourse into the form of prayer, and says,

Ver. 5. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus.”

For this is what love would do, be minded toward another even as toward himself. Then to show again that it is not mere love that he requires, he adds, “according to Christ Jesus.” And this he does, in all places, because there is also another sort of love. And what is the advantage of their agreeing?

Ver. 6. “That ye may with one mind,” he says, “and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He does not say merely with one mouth, but bids us do it with one will also. See how he has united the whole body into one, and how he concludes his address again with a doxology, whereby he gives the utmost inducement to unanimity and concord. Then again from this point he keeps to the same exhortation as before, and says,

Ver. 7. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

The example again is as before, and the gain unspeakable. For this is a thing that doth God especial glory, the being closely united. And so if even against thy will (Field “being grieved for His sake,” after Savile, but against mss.) and for His sake, thou be at variance with thy brother, consider that by putting an end to thine anger thou art glorifying thy Master, and if not on thy brother’s account, for this at all events be reconciled to him: or rather for this first. For Christ also insists upon this upon all possible grounds,1626 and when addressing His Father he said, “By this shall all men know that Thou hast sent Me, if they be one.” (John xvii. 21.)

Let us obey then, and knit ourselves to one another. For in this place it is not any longer the weak, but all that he is rousing.

 

Speak Your Mind

*