Friday, May 26, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Seventh Sunday of Easter

From “Maestà” by Duccio di Buoninsegna.
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” (Jn 17:1–2)

But what is the meaning of “You have given Him power over all flesh”? I will ask the heretics, “When did He receive this power? Was it before He formed them, or after?” He himself says that it was after He had been crucified and had risen again. At least then He said, “All power is given unto Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”* What then? Did He not have authority over His own works? Did He make them and yet not have authority over them after having made them? Yet He is seen doing all in times of old, punishing some as sinners, (for it says, “Surely I will not hide from My servant Abraham, that which I am about to do”)† and honoring others as righteous. Is it that He the power at that time but now had lost it, but He would receive it again? What devil could assert this? But if His power was the same both then and now, (for, He says, “as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whomever He will,”‡ what is the meaning of the words? He was about to send them to the Gentiles. In order therefore that they might not think that this was an innovation, because He had said, “I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,”§ He shows that this seems good to the Father also.… But what is “of all flesh”? For certainly not all believed. Yet, for His part, all believed. And if men gave no heed to His words, the fault was not in the teacher, but in those who did not receive them.

John Chrysostom Homilies on the Gospel of John 80.1–2

*  Matthew 28:18–19
†  Genesis 18:7 LXX
‡  John 5:21
§  Matthew 15:24

No comments: