Thursday, April 16, 2015

"If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice."

     Widely attributed to St. John Chrysostom, but sounds to me more like somebody's crisp paraphrase of Homily 50.4 on Matthew (ed. Field, 518A ff. (vol. 2, pp. 63 (last line) ff.); NPNF 10, trans. Prevost, rev. Riddle):
neither let us account it enough for our salvation, if after we have stripped widows and orphans, we offer for this table [(τραπέζῃ)] a gold and jewelled cup [(ποτήριον)]. Nay, if thou desire to honor the sacrifice, offer thy soul, for which also it was slain; cause that to become golden; but if that remain worse than lead or potter’s clay, while the vessel [(σκεῦος)] is of gold, what is the profit?     Let not this therefore be our aim, to offer golden vessels [(σκεύη)] only, but to do so from honest earnings likewise. For these are of the sort that is more precious even than gold, these that are without injuriousness. For the church [(ἐκκλεσία)] is not a gold foundry nor a workshop for silver, but an assembly [(πανήγυρις)] of angels. Wherefore it is souls which we require, since in fact God accepts these for the souls’ sake.
     That table [(τράπεζα)] at that time was not of silver nor that cup [(ποτήριον)] of gold, out of which Christ gave His disciples His own blood; but precious was everything there, and awful, for that they were full of the Spirit.
     Wouldest thou do honor to Christ’s body? Neglect Him not when naked; do not while here [(μὲν)] thou honorest Him with silken garments, neglect Him perishing without [(ἔξω δὲ)] of cold and nakedness. For He that said, 'This is my body,' and by His word confirmed the fact, This same said, 'Ye saw me an hungered, and fed me not;' and, 'Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.'  For This indeed needs not coverings, but a pure soul; but that requires much attention.
     Having uncovered this on my own, I see now that I am not the first to have made the connection.

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