Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chrysostom on "The Babe who Rocked the World"

John Chrysostom (349-407), the golden-mouthed preacher, bishop of Constantinople:

“What more shall I say of this mystery? I see a carpenter and a manger, an infant and swaddling clothes, a virgin giving birth without the necessaries of life, nothing but poverty and complete destitution. 

"Have you ever seen wealth in such great penury? How could he who was rich have become, for our sake, so poor that he had neither bed nor bedding but was laid in a manger? 

"O immeasurable wealth concealed in poverty! He lies in a manger, yet he rocks the whole world. He is bound with swaddling bands, yet he breaks the bonds of sin. Before he could speak he taught the wise men and converted them. 

"What else can I say? Here is the newborn babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. With him are Mary, virgin and mother, and Joseph who was called his father."

Source: Christmas Homily, 56, 392. Sermon excerpt from Journey with the Fathers: Year A, edited by Edith Barnecut O.S.B. (New City Press, 1993).