Tags

, , , , ,

5004byzantinecr_00000004717

The Commentary on the Gospel reading for this Sunday can be found here. The Epistle is:

Hebrews 12:5-7; 11-13

The Discipline of the Lord

For St Basil, tribulations can be the equivalent of training for athletes – hard at the time, but beneficial, and, if taken in the right way, can lead on to glory. Chrysostom comments that you cannot say that even the most righteous person passes their life without tribulation, for even if in appearance, the person is tranquil, no man knows what goes on beneath the appearance. If, as the Lord says (Matthew 7:13-14) the broad and easy way leads to destruction, then we can enter into eternal life only by the narrow way, which is also a hard way. As St Paul knew, we are strongest when we are so weak we have to rely on God. We are, he says, to ‘glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope’.

Bede advises is to reflect on how the Lord allows those destined for eternal life to be stricken in this life by trials and by persecution from the wicked. If we do so reflect, then we grieve less over our own adversities, and learn instead to esteem it joy when we fall into various types of trouble.

Discipline is needed for children, as it is for us all, and we should, Theodoret of Cyr tells us, see God’s discipline in this fashion

Painful rather than pleasant

Chrysostom compares discipline and its effects to bitter medicine, which at the first seem unpleasant, but later lead to our being cured. We feel despondency, but later we know it was worth it. We accept, with grace, what we are sent, for we are sinners, and we none of us deserve the great sacrifice Christ made for us. Through suffering in the right way we can gain wisdom, patience and strength, and the weaker we feel, the more we should throw ourselves entirely into the hands of our heavenly Father.

Advertisements