Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chrysostom on why there is inequality in the world

Let us not then despise one another, so that we do not over-look ourselves. “For no one ever hated his one flesh”, he says, “but nourishes and fosters it.” On this account God has given one house to us, this world, has distributed all things equally, has kindled one sun for all, stretched out one roof, the heaven, has set up one table, the earth. He gave also another table greater that this one by far, but that also is one (my fellow-initiates know the meaning); one manner of being-begotten he has graced to all, the spiritual; one homeland to all, that in the heavens; from the same cup we all drink.

He did not gift something greater and more honourable to the rich man, and something cheaper and lesser to the poor man, but called all equally; he gave fleshly things with-equal-regard, and spiritual things likewise. Therefore whence the great disparity of life? From the greed and boastfulness of the rich. But let not these things be any longer [so], brothers, nor with things universal and more necessary bringing us together let us be divided by things earthly and cheap, by wealth I mean, and poverty, and bodily relations, and hostility and friendship. For all these are shadows, and cheaper than a shadow, to those having the bond of love from above. Let us therefore guard this in unbroken manner, and none of those evil spirits will be able to enter in, even those dividing such unity; which [unity] may we all obtain, by the grace and benevolence of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom to the Father be Glory, together with the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for eternity. Amen.

- Chrysostom, In Iohannem, XV (own translation)

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