Friday, November 5, 2010

Chrysostom: On the basis of faith alone

Let us see, however, whether the brigand gave evidence of effort and upright deeds and a good yield. Far from his being able to claim even this, he made his way into paradise before the apostles with a mere word, on the basis of faith alone, the intention being for you to learn that it was not so much a case of his sound values prevailing as the Lord's lovingkindness being completely responsible.
What, in fact, did the brigand say? What did he do? Did he fast? Did he weep? Did he tear his garments? Did he display repentance in good time? Not at all: on the cross itself after his utterance he won salvation. Note the rapidity: from cross to heaven, from condemnation to salvation. What were those wonderful words, then? What great power did they have that they brought him such marvelous good things? "Remember me in your kingdom." What sort of word is that? He asked to receive good things, he showed no concern for them in action; but the one who knew his heart paid attention not to the words but to the attitude of mind.
-John Chrysostom, who lived from 347 - 407AD and was Archbishop of Constantinople from his Sermon 7 on Genesis, in St. John Chrysostom, Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

A couple of posts back you were talking about Luke 23. What I wonder about is in John 20. When Jesus appears to Mary in verse 17 he tells her to "Hold me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and tell them I ascend unto my Father". How can this be true if He was just in heaven? Was God the Father not there?

How do you understand this passage?


TLF+ said...

Hi, SP... I'm not Matt but I noticed your perceptive question and thought I would toss in a perspective.

I assume the Luke 23 passage that brings up the conflict w/John 20 is v. 43, And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

In Scripture, the divine word carries power - because it is spoken, it will come to pass. The thief had, that day, received his place in paradise because Jesus spoke that reality.

Jesus still had the time in the tomb and some post-resurrection appearances to come before he would ascend to the Father. So, in human chronological time, we are with Mary Magdalene, doing things in a particular order. But by faith we are with the thief in paradise, because "our names are written in heaven."

Matt Perkins said...

Hey SP,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. When I read your question I was basically just going to say that I don't have a great answer for your question but I believe both passages. Fr. Fountain (TLF+) was kind enough to give some good guidance on the passage for which I am thankful. I'm definitely not going to be able to say anything better than what he said.

Hope you both have a great week!

Matt Perkins (this is really me, for some reason can't sign into my account)