Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

It’s hard for us to imagine the heat with which the fourth century Christians argued over who Jesus was.  The heresy of Arianism, which denied Christ’s divinity, split the Church right down the middle.  Two Eastern bishops, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzen staunchly insisted that there was more to Jesus than meets the eye and that he is both truly human and truly divine.

Every generation of believers must struggle with this mystery of the God who became a man.  Nowadays it is the humanity of Christ that appeals most strongly to many people.  Jesus is considered the compassionate healer, the friend who walks with us, comforts us in our sorrows and guides us in times of difficulty.

But there is still more to Jesus than meets the eye.  He is the Lord, the Son of the Most High God, who ever seeks to draw us out of ourselves and into the life of God himself.  St. Basil explained the implications of faith in the divine Christ with hard words, he said: “The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe unused is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot; money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

We come to this altar today with hearts hungry for goodness, wisdom, and consolation.  We profess with each and every amen that there is more to this sacred meal than meets the eye.  And we leave this place to be bread for other hungry hearts, to be for the wounded world the very compassion of God.

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