There was a time when the person whom you despise now was above you; the one who is now a man was eternally perfect. He was in the beginning, without any cause; then he submitted himself to the contingencies of this world… That was so as to save you who insult him, who despise God because he took your crude nature…
He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, but when he rose from the tomb, he got rid of his shroud. He was laid in a manger but glorified by the angels, announced by a star, adored by the magi… He had to flee to Egypt, but he freed that country from the superstitions of the Egyptians. Before his enemies, he had “no stately bearing … nor appearance that would attract us” (Isa 53:2), but for David he was “fairer in beauty… than the sons of men” (Ps 45:3), and on the mountain, he shone more brilliantly than the sun (Mt 17:1f.). As man, he was baptized; but as God, he took away our sins. He did not need to be purified, but he wanted to sanctify the waters. As man, he was tempted; but as God, he triumphed, he who “conquered the world” (Jn 16:8)… He was hungry, but he fed thousands, he who is “the living bread come down from heaven.” (Jn 6:48.50) He was thirsty, but he cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me; let him drink” (Jn 7:37)… He knew what it was to be tired, but he is rest for all who “are weary and find life burdensome.” (Mt 11:28)… He was called a “Samaritan and possessed” (Jn 8:48); but it is he who saves the person who has fallen into the hands of thieves (Lk 10:29f.) and who makes the demons flee… He prayed, but it is he himself who hears prayers. He wept, but he puts an end to weeping. He was sold for a base price, but it is he who redeems the world at a high price: through his own blood.
Like a sheep, he was led to his death, but he leads Israel and now the whole earth to the true pasture. (Ezek 34:14) Like a lamb, he was silent; but he is the Word announced through the voice of the one who cried out in the desert (Mk 1:3). He was disabled and wounded; but it is he who heals every illness and every infirmity (Mt 9:35). He was raised up on the wood and he was nailed there; but it is he who restores us through the tree of life. He died, but he gives life and destroys death. He was buried, but he rose, and ascending into heaven, he liberated the souls from hell.
Saint Gregory of Naziance (330-390), Bishop, Doctor of the Church 3rd Theological Discourse via DailyGospel.org.
Discovering the Fathers was a big factor in my return to the Church after a 15-20 year absence.
I was actually shocked when a priest (Latin Rite) who was ordained in the 60’s said they didn’t really study the Fathers in the seminary back then. Kinda explains some things, doesn’t it?
Oh, that is one of the best homilies ever! Where do I find more?