Monday, June 19, 2006

Monday within Octave of Corpus Christi

Fragments from the Sermon of St. John Chrysostom - Lessons iv-vi, Nocturn II
...... Here there are set before us no works of the power of mere man.  He that worked at that Last Supper, worketh the same here still.  We priests minister in Christ's stead, but it is Christ that halloweth and effecteth that holy thing which we minister.  Let no Judas draw nigh to this Table, nor covetous one ; this is no table for him.  But he which is Christ's disciple, let him come ; for it is even as the Lord said : I will keep the Passover with my disciples.  This is that Passover Table, and it is all Christ's.  What is wrought there is not some of Christ's work, but it is all his work and not another's. Hither let there draw nigh none brutal, none cruel, none merciless ; in good sooth, none unclean.  I speak to all that take that Holy Communion, and to you also, O ye that do administer the same.  To you now I turn my speech, to warn you with how great care that Gift is to be given. No slight vengeance is that which awaiteth you if ye admit for a partaker at the Lord's Table the sinner whose guiltiness ye know. At your hands will his blood be required.  If a man be a General, a Governor, a crowned Monarch, yet if he come here unworthily, forbid him ; thou hast greater power than he.  To this end hath God exalted you to the honour ye hold, that ye may judge in such matters.  This office is your dignity, this is your strength, this is all your crown, this, and not the going about in white robes and glittering vestments.  And thou, O layman!when thou seest the Priest making the oblation, think not that he which is then the real Worker is such a Priest as thou seest, but know of a surety that it is Christ's Hand which is stretched out, albeit unseen by thee. Let us hear, therefore, all of us, both Priests and laymen, let us hear what Food it is whereof we are made worthy.  Let us hear, I say, and let us quake.  The Lord satisfieth us with his own holy Flesh, setting himself slain before us.  What excuse therefore shall we have, if, being so fed as we are, we sin as we do?  If, eating of the Lamb, we are still wolves?  If, pastured as the sheep of the flock, we raven like lions?  This mysterious Sacrament forbiddeth unto us not outrage only, but any the least enmity ; it is the Mystery of peace.  Upon the Jews God laid it to make year by year by solemn festivals a yearly commemoration of his mercies unto them, but upon thee to do this in remembrance of his love to thee, day by day. To this Table then let there draw nigh no Judas Iscariot, no Simon Magus.  These men fell through covetousness ; let us fly that bottomless pit.