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Typical meaning of the Asses colt, &c.

But He did these things, as I said, signifying beforehand the things to come. For here the Church is signified by the colt, and the new people, which was once unclean, but which, after Jesus sat on them, became clean. And see the image preserved throughout. I mean that the disciples loose the asses. For by the Apostles, both they and we were called; by the Apostles were we brought near. But because our acceptance provoked them also to emulation, therefore the ass appears following the colt. For after Christ hath sat on the Gentiles, then shall they also come moving us to emulation. And Paul declaring this, said, lating us' That blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the παραζηλοῦντες. fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be 2 Rom. saved. For that it was a prophecy is evident from what

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26. is said. For neither would the Prophet have cared to

HOMIL. LXVI. 2.3.

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express with such great exactness the age of the ass, unless this had been so.

But not these things only are signified by what is said, but also that the Apostles should bring them with ease. For as here, no man gainsaid them so as to keep the asses, so neither with regard to the Gentiles was any one able to prevent them, of those who were before masters of them.

But He doth not sit on the bare colt, but on the Apostles' garments. For after they had taken the colt, they then gave up all, even as Paul also said, I will very gladly spend and 32 Cor. be spent for your souls3. 12, 15.

But mark how tractable the colt, how being unbroken, and having never known the rein, he was not restive, but went on orderly; which thing itself was a prophecy of the future, signifying the submissiveness of the Gentiles, and their sudden conversion to good order. For all things did that word work, which said, Loose him, and bring him to Me. so that the unmanageable became orderly, and the unclean thenceforth clean.

[3.] But see the baseness of the Jews. He had wrought so many miracles, and never were they thus amazed at Him; but when they saw a multitude running together, then they

v. 10.11. marvel. For all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? But the multitudes said, This is Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And when they thought they were

Obstinate Jews compared with obstinate sinners.

895 saying something great, even then were their thoughts earthly, MATt. and low, and dragging on the ground'.

XXI.

10. 11.

But these things He did, not as displaying any pomp, but1σeσupat once, as I have said, both fulfilling a prophecy, and teach- μένη, ing self-denial, and at the same time also comforting His disciples, who were grieving for His death, and shewing them that He suffers all these things willingly.

And mark thou, I pray thee, the accuracy of the Prophet, how he foretold all things. And some things David, some. things Zechariah, had proclaimed beforehand. Let us also do likewise, and let us sing hymus, and give up our garments to them that hear Him. For what should we deserve, when some clothe the ass on which He was set, and others strew the garments even under her feet; but we, seeing him naked, and not being even commanded to strip ourselves, but to spend of what is laid by, not even so are liberal? And when they indeed attend upon Him before and behind, but we, when He cometh unto us, send Him away, and thrust Him off and insult Him.

How sore a punishment do these things deserve, how great vengeance! Thy Lord cometh unto thee in need, and thou art not willing so much as to listen to His intreaty, but thou blamest and rebukest Him, and this, when thou hast heard such words as these. But if in giving one loaf, and a little money, thou art so mean, and haughty, and backward; if thou hadst to empty out all, what wouldest thou become?

Seest thou not those that shew their magnificence in the theatre, how much they give away to the harlots? but thou givest not so much as the half, nay often not the smallest part. But the devil is exhorting to give to whom it may chance, procuring us hell, and thou givest; but Christ to the needy, promising a kingdom, and thou, far from giving, dost rather insult them, and thou choosest rather to obey the devil, that thou mightest be punished, than to submit to Christ, and be saved.

And what could be worse than this frenzy? One procures hell, the Other a kingdom, and ye leave The Latter, and run unto the former. And This ye send away, when He cometh unto you, that, when he is far off, ye call unto you. And what you do is the same as if a king bearing a royal

896

Calculation of what the rich might do.

LXVI.

HOMIL. robe, and offering a diadem, did not win your choice, but a robber brandishing a sword at you, and threatening death, were to win it.

3.

Considering these things then, beloved, let us discern the truth at length though late, and let us grow sober. For I am now ashamed of speaking of almsgiving, because that having often spoken on this subject, I have effected nothing worth the exhortation. For some increase indeed hath there been, but not so much as I wished. For I see you sowing, but not with a liberal hand. Wherefore I fear too lest ye also 12 Cor. reap sparingly1. 9, 6.

For in proof that we do sow sparingly, let us enquire, if it seem good, which are more numerous in the city, poor or rich; and which they, who are neither poor nor rich, but have a middle place. As, for instance, a tenth part is of rich, and a tenth of the poor that have nothing at all, and the rest of the middle sort.

Let us distribute then amongst the poor the whole multitude of the city, and ye will see the disgrace how great it is. For the very rich indeed are but few, but those that come next to them are many; again, the poor are much fewer than these. Nevertheless, although there are so many that are able to feed the hungry, many go to sleep in their hunger, not because those that have are not able with ease to succour them, but because of their great barbarity and inhumanity. For if both the wealthy, and those next to them, were to distribute amongst themselves those who are in need of bread and raiment, scarcely would one poor person fall to the share of fifty men or even a hundred. Yet nevertheless, though in such great abundance of persons to assist them, they are wailing every day. And that thou mayest learn the inhumanity of the others, when the Church is possessed of a revenue of one of the lowest among the wealthy, and not of the very rich, consider how many widows it succours every day, how many virgins; for indeed the list of them hath already reached unto the number of three thousand. Together with these, she succours them that dwell in the prison, the sick in the caravansera, the healthy, those that are absent from their home, those that are maimed in their bodies, those that wait upon the altar; and with respect to food and

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Grudging to spend on Charity inexcusable.

897

XXI.

raiment, them that casually come every day; and her sub- MATT. stance is in no respect diminished. So that if ten men only 15. were thus willing to spend, there would be no poor.

And what, it will be said, are our children to inherit? [4.] The principal remains, and the income again is become more abundant, the goods being stored up for them in Heaven.

But are ye not willing to do this? At least do it by the half, at least by the third part, at least by the fourth part, at least by the tenth. For owing to God's favour, it were possible for our city to nourish the poor of ten cities.

And if ye will, let us make some calculation' in proof of1 σuoγισμὸν this; or rather there is no need so much as of reckoning; for of itself the easiness of the thing is discernible. See at least, upon public occasions, how much one house hath often not been backward to spend, and hath not had so much as a little feeling of the expense, which service if each of the rich were willing to perform for the poor, in a brief moment of time he would have seized on Heaven.

What plea then will there be? what shadow of defence, when not even of the things from which we must assuredly be separated, when taken away from hence, not even of these do we impart to the needy with as much liberality as others to those on the stage, and this when we are to reap so many benefits therefrom? For we ought indeed, even though we were always to be here, not even so to be sparing of this good expenditure; but when after a little time, we are to be removed from hence, and dragged away naked from all, what kind of defence shall we have for not even out of our income giving to the hungry and distressed??

For neither do I constrain thee to lessen thy possessions, not because I do not wish it, but because I see thee very backward. It is not then this I say, but spend of your fruits, and treasure up nothing from these. It is enough for thee to have the money of thine income pouring in on thee as from a fountain; make the poor sharers with thee, and become a good steward of the things given thee of God.

But I pay tribute, one may say. For this cause then dost thou despise, because in this case no one demands it of thee? And the other, who, should the earth bear, or should it not

2 ayxo.

μένοις

898 Alms better and more needful to pay than tribute.

HOMIL. bear, takes by force, and extorts, thou darest not gainsay; LXVI. but Him that is so mild, and then only demands, when the

4.5.

[5.]

earth bears, thou answerest not even to a word? And who will deliver thee from those intolerable punishments? There is no one. For if, because in the other case a very sore punishment will ensue to thee for not giving, therefore thou becomest diligent about the payment, consider here too is one more sore; not to be bound, neither to be cast into prison, but to depart into the eternal fire.

For all reasons then let us pay these tributes first: for great is the facility, and greater the reward; and more abundant the gain, and worse the punishments to us if we are obstinate. For a punishment cometh upon us, which hath no end.

But if thou tell me of the soldier's fighting for thee with the barbarians, there is here too a camp, that of the poor, and a war, which the poor are waging for thee. For when they receive, by praying they make God propitious; and making Him propitious, they repulse, instead of barbarians, the assaults of the devils; they suffer not the evil one to be violent, neither to attack us continually, but they relax his might.

Seeing therefore these soldiers every day fighting in thy behalf with the devil by their supplications and prayers, demand of thyself this good contribution, their nourishment. For this King being mild hath not assigned thee any to demand it of thee, but desires thou shouldest give it willingly; though thou pay by little and little, He receives it; though being in difficulty, thou shouldest pay after a long time, He doth not press him that hath not.

Let us not then despise His long-suffering; let us treasure up for ourselves, not wrath, but salvation; not death, but life; not punishment and vengeance, but honours and crowns. There is no need in this case to pay a hire for the conveyance of the things contributed; there is no need in this case to labour in turning them into money. If thou givest them up, the Lord Himself removes them into heaven; He Himself makes the traffic the more gainful for thee.

There is no need here to find one to carry in what thou hast contributed; contribute only, and straightway it goeth

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