But not without a purpose doth the evangelist signify the time, but to make thee observe also the haughtiness of the tyrant, and his thoughtlessness, in that not at the beginning did he inform himself about Christ, but after a very long time. For such are they that are in places of power, and are encompassed with much pomp, they learn these things late, because they do not make much account of them.
And He performed a sign which was not adventitious, but one which took place then for the first time: Never since the world began has it been heard that someone opened the eyes of a person born blind. Someone may, perhaps, have opened the eyes of a blind person, but not of anyone blind from birth.
It became clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive; in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the Gospel way of life and future judgment, and yet it turned ordinary, uneducated men into philosophers. See how the foolishness of God is wiser than people, and his weakness stronger than people!
And indeed when should they have stolen Him? on the Sabbath? And how? for it was not lawful so much as to go out. And even if they transgressed the law, how should they have dared, who were so timid, to come forth? And how could they also have been able to persuade the multitude? By saying what? By doing what?
Many men, when they see any of those who are pleasing to God suffering anything terrible, as, for instance, having fallen into sickness, or poverty, and any other the like, are offended, not knowing that to those especially dear to God it belongeth to endure these things; since Lazarus also was one of the friends of Christ, and was sick.
Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord; Receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival! You sober and you heedless, honour the day! Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
There is not one Theophany, but two: the one actual, which already has occurred, and the second in future, which will happen with glory at the end of the world. About this one and about the other you will hear today from Paul, who in conversing with Titus, speaks thus about the present: "The grace of God hath revealed itself, having saved all mankind, decreeing, that we reject iniquity and worldly desires, and dwell in the present age in prudence and in righteousness and piety"—and about the future: "awaiting the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ"
How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee. Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all inspired.
Judas stretched forth his hand to the lawless. She sought the remission of her sins, while he took the pieces of silver. The harlot brought myrrh to anoint the Lord; the disciple made an agreement with the lawless. She rejoiced when she spent the precious myrrh; he set out to sell Him who has no price. She recognized her Master, while he departed from his Master. She was freed from sin, but he became the captive of sin.
Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.
But why did the Holy Ghost come to them, not while Christ was present, nor even immediately after his departure, but, whereas Christ ascended on the fortieth day, the Spirit descended when the day of Pentecost, that is, the fiftieth, was fully come (Act. 2:1)? And how was it, if the Spirit had not yet come, that He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (Jn. 20:22)? In order to render them capable and meet for the reception of Him.