Sermon by St. John Chrysostom Read after the Liturgy's Gospel On Wednesday the third of Nineveh's fast
Sermon by St. John Chrysostom (The Golden Mouth)
Read after the Liturgy's Bible
On the Fast of Nineveh's Third Day
Includes a retribution for those who are too absorbed in worldly matters and those who do not care about Eternal Life
Inspired by His saying the Bible: "Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.He answered and said to them,“When it is evening you say, ‘It will befair weather, for the sky is red’;and in the morning, ‘It will befoul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannotdiscernthe signs of the times.A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophetJonah.”And He left them and departed.[Matthew 16:1-4].
Throughout this age, we go too far when choosing the things that are beneficial, the restaurants that offer the most delicious foods, the highest positions and times that are designated according to our successive whims. We have become so devoted and assiduous in monitoring the stars and discerning the days, the locations where creatures are, and doing what should not be done.
Why don’t we pay attention to the things that concern our everlasting lives, and why don’t we pay our debts and rid ourselves of our enemies before the rulers judge us? If our Lord gave us an example about those who seek deliverance and those who do not care about themselves; we do not care – so what should then become of us?
Let us now suppose that the delivered and the careless ones are like two merchants who went to a certain country to buy trading goods. When they safely arrived into the city, they parted and each of them went in his separate way.
The first one was assiduous and serious, he worked hard and toured the markets, and he inspected the trading locations and asked the brokers and experts in his country about the winning trades and goods that generate benefits. He put a lot of effort into the purchasing, day and night, without considering any pleasures or distractions along the way, and after he completed his task, he rested.
As for the other man, when he arrived at the city, he kept asking about all of its secular parts, all the parts and places that were a part of this world and offered worldly pleasures. He went on spending his days carelessly basking in these secular pleasures. Whenever he saw his colleague working hard to find different goods, he used to rebuke him for being too absorbed in exhaustion and abstaining from pleasurable things, nevertheless, the other man ignored him. This continued until the time came for the two traders to report for duty, and the horn was sounded. The men of the kingdom and the guards of the city came to get the foreigners out of their city as customary in these countries.
When the smart and serious trader heard the horn, he got up joyfully and hurried back home with the precious goods he had earned and purchased – all of his accomplishments. He immediately took the stock and the men, before leaving with triumphant gains. As for the failing trader, when he heard the call for departure, he woke up from the carelessness of ignorance and the lazy sleep. He started crying while regretting his doings very sorrowfully. He asked for mercy that he was not granted, he begged but no one sympathized with him. Among the traders, he had become a failure and a poor man, without any money, supplies, or shops. He was facing the scary wilderness and long roads. Such a man is likely to die of starvation and perish from fear and fright.
Since this parable applies to us in the same manner, how can we then remain in these foreign countries – oblivious, careless, and negligent when it comes to collecting our trades? We are slacking in asking for deliverance. How is it that in our minds we waste our money for nothing in the foreign lands and then go back home loaded with failure? How can we elect to keep ourselves busy with food, drinks, and perishable pleasures when we know we shall depart from this world one day? We will be held accountable, and be judged based upon our actions.
We should then follow the path of striving to correct our actions and undertake to get delivered from our enemies. We should get ready quickly to go back to our homelands where we shall enjoy our spiritual goods, and benefit from our trade in the Eternal Life of our Lord Jesus Christ. May He be glorified forever. Amen.