May 25, 2011 + from Homily LVI


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

And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:1-3)

Lo, here again is another difficulty, if without this man's punishment, it was not possible that the glory of God should be shown. Certainly it is not said that it was impossible, for it was possible, but, "that it might be manifested even in this man." "What," saith some one, "did he suffer wrong for the glory of God?" What wrong, tell me? For what if God had never willed to produce him at all? But I assert that he even received benefit from his blindness: since he recovered the sight of the eyes within. What were the Jews profited by their eyes? They incurred the heavier punishment, being blinded even while they saw. And what injury had this man by his blindness? For by means of it he recovered sight. As then the evils of the present life are not evils, so neither are the good things good; sin alone is an evil, but blindness is not an evil. And He who had brought this man from not being into being, had also power to leave him as he was.

But some say, that this conjunction is not at all expressive of cause, but relates to the consequence of the miracle; as when He saith, "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind" (ver. 39); and yet it was not for this He came, that those who saw might be made blind. And again Paul, "Because that which may be known of God is manifested in them, that they may be without excuse" (Rom. i. 19, 20); yet He showed it not unto them for this, that they might be deprived of excuse, but that they might obtain excuse. And again in another place, "The Law entered, that the offense might abound" (Rom. v. 20); yet it was not for this that it entered, but that sin might be checked. Seest thou everywhere that the conjunction relates to the consequence? For as some excellent architect may build part of a house, and leave the rest unfinished, so that to those who believe not he may prove, by means of that remnant, that he is author of the whole; so also God joineth together and completeth our body, as it were a house decayed, healing the withered hand, bracing the palsied limbs, straightening the lame, cleansing the lepers, raising up the sick, making sound the crippled, recalling the dead from death, opening the eyes that were closed, or adding them where before they were not; all which things, being blemishes arising from the infirmity of our nature, He by correcting showed His power.

But when He said, "That the glory of God might be manifested," He spake of Himself, not of the Father; His glory was already manifest. For since they had heard that God made man, taking the dust of the earth, so also Christ made clay. To have said, "I am He who took the dust of the earth, and made man," would have seemed a hard thing to His hearers; but this when shown by actual working, no longer stood in their way. So that He by taking earth, and mixing it with spittle, showed forth His hidden glory; for no small glory was it that He should be deemed the Architect of the creation.

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St. John the Russian - May 27

Troparion of St. John the Russian, Tone 4

He Who called thee from earth to heaven keeps thy body unharmed even after death, O righteous John. Thou wast taken to Asia as a prisoner and didst win Christ as thy friend. Beseech Him that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion of St. John the Russian, Tone 4

Today we remember thine illustrious contests, O righteous Father John. They gladden the souls of those who venerate thee with reverence and faith.