May 19, 2010 + From Homily LI


The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel According to St. John

"In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."  (John 7:37-38)

They who come to the divine preaching and give heed to the faith, must manifest the desire of thirsty men for water, and kindle in themselves a similar longing; so will they be able also very carefully to retain what is said. For as thirsty men, when they have taken a bowl, eagerly drain it and then desist, so too they who hear the divine oracles if they receive them thirsting, will never be weary until they have drunk them up. For to show that men ought ever to thirst and hunger, "Blessed," it saith, "are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Matt. v. 6); and here Christ saith, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." What He saith is of this kind, "I draw no man to Me by necessity and constraint; but if any hath great zeal, if any is inflamed with desire, him I call."

But why hath the Evangelist remarked that it was "on the last day, that great day"? For both the first day and the last were "great," while the intermediate days they spent rather in enjoyment. Wherefore then saith he, "in the last day"? Because on that day they were all collected together. For on the first day He came not, and told the reason to His brethren, nor yet on the second and third days saith He anything of this kind, lest His words should come to nought, the hearers being about to run into indulgence. But on the last day when they were returning home He giveth them supplies for their salvation, and crieth aloud, partly by this showing to us His boldness, and partly for the greatness of the multitude. And to show that He spake not of material drink, He addeth, "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." By "belly" he here meaneth the heart, as also in another place it saith, "And Thy Law in the midst of my belly." But where hath the Scripture said, that "rivers of living water shall flow from his belly"? Nowhere. What then meaneth, "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith"? Here we must place a stop, so that the, "rivers shall flow from his belly," may be an assertion of Christ. For because many said, "This is the Christ"; and, "When the Christ cometh will He do more miracles?" He showeth that it behooveth to have a correct knowledge, and to be convinced not so much from the miracles as from the Scriptures.

Many, in fact, who even saw Him working marvels received Him not as Christ, and were ready to say, "Do not the Scriptures say that Christ cometh of the seed of David?" and on this they continually dwelt. He then, desiring to show that He did not shun the proof from the Scriptures, again referreth them to the Scriptures. He had said before, "Search the Scriptures" (c. v. 39); and again, "It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be taught of God" (c. vi. 45); and, "Moses accuseth you" (c. v. 45); and here," As the Scripture hath said, rivers shall flow from his belly," alluding to the largeness and abundance of grace. As in another place He saith, "A well of water springing up unto eternal life" (c. iv. 14), that is to say, "he shall possess much grace"; and elsewhere He calleth it, "eternal life," but here, "living water." He calleth that "living" which ever worketh; for the grace of the Spirit, when it hath entered into the mind and hath been established, springeth up more than any fountain, faileth not, becometh not empty, stayeth not. To signify therefore at once its unfailing supply and unlimited operation, He hath called it "a well" and "rivers," not one river but numberless; and in the former case He hath represented its abundance by the expression, "springing." And one may clearly perceive what is meant, if he will consider the wisdom of Stephen, the tongue of Peter, the vehemence of Paul how nothing bare, nothing withstood them, not the anger of multitudes, not the risings up of tyrants, not the plots of devils, not daily deaths, but as rivers borne along with a great rushing sound, so they went on their way hurrying all things with them.

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Ss. Constantine and Helen - May 21

Troparion of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Tone 8

O Lord, thy disciple Emperor Constantine, who saw in the sky the Sign of Thy Cross, Accepted the call that came straight from Thee, as it happened to Paul, and not from any man. He built his capital and entrusted it to Thy care. Preserve our country in everlasting peace, through the intercession of the Mother of God, for Thou art the Lover of mankind.