Friday, May 26, 2006

Saint John Chrysostom I

In my parrish, there is a mural on the wall in the secondary building that shows two monks talking to each other and one says "I would rather have St. John Chrysostom's commentary on Matthew than all the riches of Paris". I am now reading those commentaries (or homilies) and I can see how he would say such a thing! I highly encourage everyone to read it.

Of the harmony between the genealogy of Matthew & Luke he says:

But if there were any hostility in their statements, neither would the sects, who maintain the contrary part, have received all, but only so much as seemed to harmonize with themselves; nor would those, which have parted off a portion, be utterly refuted by that portion; so that the very fragments cannot be hid, but declare aloud their connexion with the whole body.

You see that Christians have been using this defense from very early on (around the end of the fourth century). If these men were deceiving or making up a story, their written accounts would match perfectly. The (usually) subtle differences indicate authenticity. Again on the genealogy he writes:

And wherefore Luke hath made mention of other names, and not only not all of them the same, but also many more of them, while Matthew hath both fewer and different, though he too hath ended with Joseph, with whom Luke likewise concluded.

And later:

Now that the Virgin was of the race of David is indeed from these things evident; but wherefore he gave not her genealogy, but Joseph’s, requires explanation.

When I read this I thought to myself, where are these preachers today?! Evangelical preachers will say "Matthew is the genealogy of Joseph & Luke is of Mary" as the reason why they differ. That is completely untrue and basically a lazy attempt to avoid the issue. Both Matthew and Luke specifically say that the lineage is through Joseph. We know that Luke was capable of writing the word Mary because sure enough.. several verses later there it is!

It was refreshing to me to see that the early church fathers such as Chrysostom were highly intelligent and unafraid to tackle tough issues in order to more fully appreciate the truth. It is my experience that most people are afraid of truth. But through faith in Christ we can boldly seek truth having no fear since truth itself is on our side. I encourage you to read St. John Chrysostom's homilies if not some other early church father writing.

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