May 11, 2011 + from Homily XXXVI


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

"Now there is at Jerusalem a sheep pool, called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of halt, blind, withered, waiting for the moving of the water."  (John 5:2-3)

What manner of cure is this? What mystery doth it signify to us? For these things are not written carelessly, or without a purpose, but as by a figure and type they show in outline things to come, in order that what was exceedingly strange might not by coming unexpectedly harm among the many the power of faith. What then is it that they show in outline? A Baptism was about to be given, possessing much power, and the greatest of gifts, a Baptism purging all sins, and making men alive instead of dead. These things then are foreshown as in a picture by the pool, and by many other circumstances. And first is given a water which purges the stains of our bodies, and those defilements which are not, but seem to be, as those from touching the dead, those from leprosy, and other similar causes; under the old covenant one may see many things done by water on this account. However let us now proceed to the matter in hand.

First then, as I before said, He causeth defilements of our bodies, and afterwards infirmities of different kinds, to be done away by water. Because God, desiring to bring us nearer to faith in baptism, no longer healeth defilements only, but diseases also. For those figures which came nearer [in time] to the reality, both as regarded Baptism, and the Passion, and the rest, were plainer than the more ancient; and as the guards near the person of the prince are more splendid than those before, so was it with the types. And "an Angel came down and troubled the water," and endued it with a healing power, that the Jews might learn that much more could the Lord of Angels heal the diseases of the soul. Yet as here it was not simply the nature of the water that healed, (for then this would have always taken place,) but water joined to the operations of the Angel; so in our case, it is not merely the water that worketh, but when it hath received the grace of the Spirit, then it putteth away all our sins. Around this pool "lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water"; but then infirmity was a hindrance to him who desired to be healed, now each hath power to approach, for now it is not an Angel that troubleth, it is the Lord of Angels who worketh all. The sick man cannot now say, "I have no man"; he cannot say, "While I am coming another steppeth down before me"; though the whole world should come, the grace is not spent, the power is not exhausted, but remaineth equally great as it was before. Just as the sun's beams give light every day, yet are not exhausted, nor is their light made less by giving so abundant a supply; so, and much more, the power of the Spirit is in no way lessened by the numbers of those who enjoy it. And this miracle was done in order that men, learning that it is possible by water to heal the diseases of the body, and being exercised in this for a long time, might more easily believe that it can also heal the diseases of the soul.

***

Virgin Martyr Glyceria - May 13

Troparion of St. Glyceria, Tone 3

Let us honour Christ's fair virgin who excelled in the struggle of contest. She trampled on the serpent although she was weak in the flesh. For love of Christ she despised her torments and was therefore glorified by God. Let us cry to her: Rejoice, O blessed Glyceria.

Kontakion of St. Glyceria, Tone 3

Through love for Mary the Virgin Mother of God thou didst preserve thy virginity, O Glyceria. Thou didst surrender thy heart to Christ thy God and bravely fight till death. Therefore He has crowned thee with a double crown.