In the wake of the current refugee crisis, Saint John Chrysotom urges us to become loving and gentle towards other people, forgive those who err and show mercy, if we wish to be judged favorably ourselves.
They say that these are fugitives, foreigners and wretches. That they’ve left their homelands in order to gather in our city. So tell me, is this why you’re distressed and want to destroy the glory of our city, because everybody considers it their own haven and they prefer it to their own land. This is precisely why you should rejoice and be exceeding glad, because just as people hurry to you [stall-holders] to buy goods from your hands, so all the nations see our city as their own mother. So don’t destroy the honor they’re paying it and don’t cut short the praise they’ve given it even from ancient times.
There was once a famine and the citizens of this town sent a great deal of money to the residents of Jerusalem, through Paul and Barnabas, which is where we began out homily [note Saint John had already made other points]. How will we be worthy of forgiveness, what kind of defense can we offer when, through their financial assistance, our forebears fed people living far away and made haste to help them, whereas we want to expel those who’ve come from afar and we demand detailed explanations? Especially when we know that we’re responsible for a whole host of evils… Let’s just remember that when God judges us, as we do the poor, we won’t be shown any forgiveness or mercy. Because it was said: ‘As you judge others, so will you be judged’. So become loving and gentle towards other people, forgive those who err and show mercy, if you wish to be judged favorably yourself. But why do you involve yourself? Why are you curious? Has God ordered us to look into other people’s lives to seek explanations and to meddle, so as to make things difficult for them?
(On Charity. Delivered in winter as he saw the poor and indigent uncared for in the market. PG 51, 269-70)
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