March 10, 2010 + from Homily XI


from The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Epistle to the Hebrews

What is "the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:18)? From these [past events] (he says) we conjecture the future. For if these came to pass after so long a time, so certainly the others will. So that the things which happened in regard to Abraham give us confidence also concerning the things to come.

"Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil: whither the forerunner is for us entered, even JESUS, made High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."  (Hebrews 6:19-20)

He shows, that while we are still in the world, and not yet departed from [this] life, we are already among the promises. For through hope we are already in heaven. He said, "Wait; for it shall surely be." Afterwards giving them full assurance, he says, "nay rather by hope." And he said not, "We are within," but 'It hath entered within,' which was more true and more persuasive. For as the anchor, dropped from the vessel, does not allow it to be carried about, even if ten thousand winds agitate it, but being depended upon makes it steady, so also does hope.

And see how very suitable an image he has discovered:  For he said not, Foundation; which was not suitable; but, "Anchor." For that which is on the tossing sea, and seems not to be very firmly fixed, stands on the water as upon land, and is shaken and yet is not shaken. For in regard to those who are very firm, and philosophic, Christ with good reason made that statement, saying, "Whosoever hath built his house on a rock." (Matt. vii. 24.)

But in respect of those who are giving way, and who ought to be carried through by hope, Paul hath suitably set down this. For the surge and the great storm toss the boat; but hope suffers it not to be carried hither and thither, although winds innumerable agitate it: so that, unless we had this [hope] we should long ago have been sunk.

Nor is it only in things spiritual, but also in the affairs of this life, that one may find the power of hope great. Whatever it may be, in merchandise, in husbandry, in a military expedition, unless one sets this before him, he would not even touch the work. But he said not simply "Anchor," but "sure and steadfast" [i.e.] not shaken. "Which entereth into that within the veil"; instead of 'which reacheth through even to heaven.'

Then after this he led on to Faith also, that there might not only be hope, but a very true [hope]. For after the oath he lays down another thing too, even proof by facts, because "the forerunner is for us entered in, even JESUS." But a forerunner is a forerunner of some one, as John was of Christ.

Now he did not simply say, "He is entered in," but "where He is entered in a forerunner for us," as though we also ought to attain.

For there is no great interval between the forerunner and those who follow: otherwise he would not be a forerunner; for the forerunner and those who follow ought to be in the same road, and to arrive after [each other].

***

St. Gregory the Dialogist - March 12

Troparion of St. Gregory, Tone 3

Thou didst excellently dispense the Word of God, endowed with discretion of speech, O Hierarch Gregory; for by thy life thou didst set the virtues before us, and dost radiate the brightness of holiness. O Righteous Father, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion of St. Gregory, Tone 8

We praise thee, God-inspired harp of the Church and God-possessed tongue of wisdom; for thou didst prove to be an image and model of the Apostles and didst emulate their zeal. Wherefore we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Gregory the Dialogist.