The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 15:9-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 21, 2011

This post includes commentary on verse 12.

Ver. 9. “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you.”Here at length He speaketh in a more human manner, for this, as spoken to men, has its peculiar force. Since what a measure of love did He manifest, who chose to die, who counted worthy of such honor those who were His slaves, His haters, His open enemies, and led them up to the heavens! “If then I love you, be bold; if it be the glory of My Father that ye bear fruit, imagine nothing ill.” Then that He may not make them supine, observe how He braceth them again,

“Continue ye in My love.” “For this ye have the power to do.” And how shall this be?

Ver. 10. “If ye keep My commandments, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments.” Again, His discourse proceedeth in a human way; for certainly the Lawgiver would not be subject to commandments. Seest thou that here also, as I am always saying, this is declared because of the infirmity of the hearers? For He chiefly speaketh to their suspicions, and by every means showeth them that they are in safety, and that their enemies are being lost, and that all, whatever they have, they have from the Son, and that, if they show forth a pure life, none shall ever have the mastery over them. And observe that He discourseth with them in a very authoritative manner, for He said not, “abide in the love of My Father,” but, “in Mine”; then, lest they should say, “when Thou hast set us at war with all men, Thou leavest us, and departest,” He showeth that He doth not leave them, but is so joined to them if they will, as the branch in the vine. Then, lest from confidence they should become supine, He saith not that the blessing cannot be removed if they are slack-minded. And in order not to refer the action to Himself, and so make them more apt to fall, He saith, “Herein is My Father glorified.” For everywhere He manifesteth His own and His Father’s love towards them. Not the things of the Jews, then, were “glory,” but those which they21 were about to receive. And that they might not say, “we have been driven from the possessions of our fathers, we have been deserted, we have become naked, and destitute of all things,””Look,” He saith, “on Me. I am loved by the Father, yet still I suffer these things appointed. And so I am not now leaving you because I love you not. For if I am slain, and take not this for a proof of not being loved by the Father, neither ought ye to be troubled. For, if ye continue in My love, these dangers shall not be able to do you any mischief on the score of love.”

Since then love is a thing mighty and irresistible, not a bare word, let us manifest it by our actions. He reconciled us when we were His enemies, let us, now that we have become His friends, remain so. He led the way, let us at least follow; He loveth us not for His own advantage, (for He needeth nothing,) let us at least love Him for our profit; He loved us being His enemies, let us at least love Him being our friend. At present we do the contrary; for every day God is blasphemed through us, through our plunderings, through our covetousness. And perhaps one of you will say, “Every day thy discourse is about covetousness.” Would that I could speak about it every night too; would that I could do so, following you about in the market-place, and at your table; would that both wives, and friends, and children, and domestics, and tillers of the soil, and neighbors, and the very pavement and walls, could ever shout forth this word, that so we might perchance have relaxed a little. For this malady hath seized upon all the world, and occupies the souls of all, and great is the tyranny of Mammon. We have been ransomed by Christ, and are the slaves of gold. We proclaim the sovereignty of the one, and obey the other. Whatever “he” commands we readily obey, and we have refused to know family, or friendship, or nature, or laws, or anything, for him. No one looks up to Heaven, no one thinks about things to come. But there will be a time, when there will be no profit even in22 these words. “In the grave,” itsaith, “who shall confess to Thee?” Gold is adesirable thing, and procures us much luxury, and makes us to be honored, but not in like manner as doth Heaven. For from the wealthy man many even turn aside, and hate him, but him who lives virtuously they respect and honor. “But” saith some one “the poor man is derided, even though he be virtuous.” Not among men, but brutes.  Wherefore he ought not so much as to notice them. For if asses were to bray and daws chatter at us, while all wise men commended us, we should not, losing sight ofthis latter audience, have regard to clamors of the brutes; for like to daws, and worse than asses, are they who admire present things. Moreover, if an earthly king approve thee, thou makest no account of the many, though they all deride thee; but if the Lord of the universe praise thee, seekest thou the good words of beetles and gnats? For this is what these men are, compared with God, or rather not even this, but something viler, if there be aught such. How long do we wallow in the mire? How long do we set sluggards and belly-gods for our judges?They can prove dicers well, drunkards, those who live for the belly, but as for virtue and vice, they cannot imagine so much as a dream. If any one taunt thee because thou hast not skill to draw the channels of the watercourses,24 thou wilt not think it any terrible thing, but wilt even laugh at him who objects to thee ignorance of this kind; and dost thou, when thou desirest to practice virtue, appoint as judges those who know nothing of it? On this account we never reach that art. We commit our case not to the practiced, but to the unlearned, and they judge not according to the rules of art, but according to their own ignorance. Wherefore, I exhort you, let us despise the many; or rather let us desire neither praises, nor possessions, nor wealth, nor deem poverty any evil. For poverty is to us a teacher of prudence, and endurance, and all true wisdom. Thus Lazarus lived in poverty, and received a crown; Jacob desired to get bread only; and Joseph was in the extreme of poverty, being not merely a slave, but also a prisoner; and on this account we admire him the more, and we do not so much praise him when he distributed the corn, as when he dwelt in the dungeon: not when he wore the diadem, but when the chain; not when he sat upon the throne, but when he was plotted against and sold.25 Considering then all these things, and the crowns twined for us after the conflicts, let us admire not wealth, and honor, and luxury, and power, but poverty, and the chain, and bonds, and endurance in the cause of virtue. For the end of those things is full of troubles and confusion, and their lot is bound up with this present life; but the fruit of these, heaven, and the good things in the heavens, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard; which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of I our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever.

John 15:11, 12.-“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

All things good then have their reward, when they arrive at their proper end, but if they be cut off midway, shipwreck ensues. And as a vessel of immense burden, if it reach not the harbor in time, but founder in the midst of the sea, gains nothing from the length of the voyage, but even makes the calamity greater, in proportion as it has endured more toils; so are those souls which fall back when near the end of their labors, and faint in the midst of the struggle. Wherefore Paul said, that glory, and honor, and peace, should meet those who ran their course with patient continuance in well-doing. A thing which Christ now effecteth in the case of the disciples. (Rom 2:7.) For since He had accepted them, and they rejoiced in Him, and then the sudden coming of the Passion and His sad words were likely to cut short their pleasureafter having conversed with them sufficiently to soothe them, He addeth, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be fulfilled”; that is, “that ye might not be separated from Me that ye might not cut short your course. Ye were rejoicing in Me, and ye were rejoicing exceedingly, but despondency hath fallen upon you. This then. I remove, that joy may come at the last, showing that your present circumstances are fit cause, not for pain, but for pleasure. I saw you offended; I despised you not; I said not, `Why do ye not continue noble?’ But I spake to you words which brought comfort with them. And so I wish ever to keep you in the same love. Ye have heard concerning a kingdom, ye rejoiced. In order therefore that your joy might be fulfilled, I have spoken these things unto you.” But”this is the commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Seest thou that the love of God is intertwined with Our own, and connected like a sort of chain? Wherefore it sometimes saith that there are two commandments, sometimes only one. For it is not possible that the man who hath taken hold on the first should not possess the second also. For at one time He said, “On this the Law and the Prophets hang”1 (Matt 22:40); and at another, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is theLaw and the Prophets.” (Matt. vii. 12.) And, “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom 13:10.) Which He saith also here; for if to abide proceeds from love, and love from the keeping of the commandments, and the commandment is that we love one another, then the abiding in God proceeds from love towards each other. And He doth not simply speak of love, but declareth also the manner, “As I have loved you.” Again He showeth, that His very departure was not of hatred but of love. “So that I ought rather to be admired on this account, for I lay down My life for you.” Yet nowhere doth He say this in these words, but in a former place, by sketching the best shepherd, and here by exhorting them, and by showing the greatness of His love, and Himself, who He is. But wherefore doth He everywhere exalt love? Because this is the mark of the disciples, this the bond of virtue. On this account Paul saith such great things of it, as being a genuine disciple of Christ, and having had experience of it.

2 Responses to “St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 15:9-11”

  1. […] Top Posts Fathers Nolan and Brown's Commentary on John 14:1-12 for Sunday Mass, May 22 (Fifth Sunday of Easter)(Complete) Resources for Sunday Mass, May 22, 2011 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)St John Chrysostom on John 14:1-12 for Sunday Mass, May 22 (Fifth Sunday of Easter)May 22: Pope Benedict XVI's Homily on the Readings for the Fifth Sunday of EasterCornelius a Lapide's Commentary on on John 14:1-12 for Sunday Mass, May 22 (Fifth Sunday of Easter)Sunday, May 22: Father Callan on Today's First Reading (Acts 6:1-6)Pope Benedict's CatechesisSaturday, May 21: Fathers Nolan and Brown's Commentary on Today's Gospel (John 14:7-14)Sunday, May 22: Bishop MacEvily on Today's Second Reading (1 Pet 2:4-9)Aquinas' Catena Aurea on John 14:1-12 for Sunday Mass, May 22 (Fifth Sunday of Easter) « Thursday, May 26: St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John&nbsp… […]

  2. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:9-11). […]

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