Saturday, December 13, 2008

The History of the Blessed Man Pambo

Melha tells Palladius a story of her meeting with Pambo, of a time when she brought a great deal of silver as a gift for the monasteries. Pambo distributed the wealth without treating Melha with any special regard, and she inquired as to whether he knew how much silver she had just given-- three hundred pounds. Pambo replied,

"He unto whom thou hast offered thy money hath no need [to know] the weight. For He who weighed the mountains in a balance knoweth how much is the weight of thy silver. If thou hadst given the money unto me thou wouldst have done well to have informed me concerning the weight thereof; but since thou hast given it to God, Who did not despise the two mites of the widow, [what need hast thou to tell Him?] Hold thy peace." (103)

Shortly after Palladius arrives in Nitria Pambo dies, leaving him a woven palm mat that he had just finished making. Palladius treasures this mat as a sacred relic. The final story he tells is of "the blessed man Pior" coming to Pambo's cell with some bread,

and Pambo made a complaint, saying unto him, "Why hast thou done this?" Then Abba Pior made answer, saying, "Let [this thing] be not grievous unto thee"; but Pambo was silent and sent him away. And after some time Rabba Pambo went to the cell of Abba Pior, and he took with him bread which had been dipped in water; and being asked, "Why hast thou done this?" the blessed man Pambo said unto him, "Let it not be grievous unto thee that I have also dipped the bread in water." (104)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Homily Five

Acts 2:14-21

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

"For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

"But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh:
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

"And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

"I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

"The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the reat and awesome day of the Lord.

"And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved."


Peter responsd to the accusations of drunkenness by explaining how this fulfilled a prophecy.


Chrysostom notes how gently Peter replies to his detractors, saying "We are not drunk as you suppose" rather than "as you accuse."

He also notes that Peter does not first speak directly of Christ, but rather of the prophecy which can "fight its own battle."

The remainder of the sermon is speaking to Marcionism and to those who believe there is no hell-- it's popular to dislike those who lay down the law, but in the end this law is more necessary than parties are.

And Chrysostom reminds us that all are without excuse, that as far as India and Spain is Christ known.