ASTERIUS
of
AMASEA
 

 


From a homily by Saint Asterius of Amasea, bishop
Office of Readings: Thursday of the First Week of Lent 
[MS-Word.doc]


Hom. 13. PG 40 355-358, 362; Asterius of Amasea. Homilies i-xiv, ed C.Datema, (Brill Leiden 1970)


Be shepherds like the Lord


 

 

 

 

 

 

Asterius, Bishop of Amasea:
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING REPENTANCE

Ἀστερίου ἐπισκόπου Ἀμασείας προτρεπτικὸς περὶ μετανοίας

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF you eagerly strive for [zēloute] God in Whose image you were created, then imitate your archetype. O Christians, you who are named “lovers of humankind”, eagerly strive for Christ’s love

5.1 Εἰ ζηλοῦτε Θεὸν ὡς κατ΄ εἰκόνα κτισθέντες͵ μιμήσασθε ὑμῶν τὸν ἀρχέτυπον· ὦ χριστιανοί͵ τὸ φιλάνθρωπον ὄνομα͵ ζηλώσατε τοῦ Χριστοῦ τὴν ἀγάπην͵

  Reflect for a moment on the wealth of his kindness. Before he came as a man to be among men, he sent John the Baptist to preach repentance and lead men to practise it. John himself was preceded by the prophets, who were to teach the people to repent, to return to God and to amend their lives.

ἀποβλέψατε πρὸς τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς ἐκείνου φιλαν θρωπίας. Μέλλων γὰρ ἀνθρώποις ἐπιφαίνεσθαι δι΄ ἀνθρώπου προκαθῆκε τὸν Ἰωάννην͵ μετανοίας κήρυκα͵ μεταμελείας εἰσηγητὴν καὶ πάντας πρὸ Ἰωάννου προφήτας ἐπιστροφῆς διδασκάλους.

Then shortly thereafter [Christ] himself appeared, and with his own voice, in his own person cried out: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28) How did he receive those who listened to his call? He readily forgave them their sins; he freed them instantly from all that troubled them.

5.2 Εἶτα καὶ αὐτὸς μετ΄ ὀλίγον ἐπιφανεὶς οἰκείᾳ φωνῇ βοᾷ αὐτοπροσώπως· Δεῦτε πρὸς μέ͵ πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι͵ κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς. Τοὺς δὲ τῇ κλήσει πεισθέντας πῶς ὑπεδέξατο; Ἄπονον ἔδωκεν τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων τὴν ἄφεσιν͵ ἀκαριαίαν καὶ σύντομον τὴν τῶν λυπούντων ἀπαλλαγήν

The Word made them holy; the Spirit set his seal on them. The old Adam was buried in the waters of baptism; the new man was reborn to the vigour of grace.

· Λόγος ἡγίασεν͵ Πνεῦμα ἐσφράγισεν· ὁ παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος ἐνετάφη τῷ ὕδατι͵ ὁ νέος ἐτέχθη ἀνηβήσας τῇ χάριτι.

  What was the result? Those who had been God’s enemies became his friends, those estranged from him became his sons, those who did not know him came to worship and love him.

5.3 Τί τὰ ἑξῆς; Ὁ ἄνθρωπος οἰκεῖος ἀντ΄ ἀλλοτρίου͵ υἱὸς ἀντὶ ξένου͵ μύστης ἐκ βεβήλου͵ ἅγιος ἐξ ἀσεβῶν.

 

 

 

 

LET us then be shepherds like the Lord. We must meditate on the Gospel, and as we see in this mirror the example of attentive care and loving kindness, we should become thoroughly schooled in these virtues.

8.1 Μιμησώμεθα τὴν ποιμαντικὴν τοῦ Δεσπότου· ἐγκύψωμεν τοῖς εὐαγγελίοις καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ τὴν ἰδέαν καταμάθωμεν τῆς ἐπιμελείας τε καὶ χρηστότητος.

  For there, obscurely, in the form of a parable, we see a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. When one of them was separated from the flock and lost its way, that shepherd did not remain with the sheep who kept together at pasture. No, he went off to look for the stray. He crossed many valleys and thickets, he climbed great and towering mountains, he spent much time and labour in wandering through solitary places until at last he found his sheep.

Βλέπω γὰρ ἐκεῖ ἐν παραβολαῖς καὶ τοῖς ἐπεσκιασμένοις τῶν λόγων ἄνδρα ποιμένα ἑκατὸν προβάτων· ὃς ἑνὸς θρέμματος ἀποσχισθέντος τῆς ἀγέλης καὶ πλανωμένου οὐ τοῖς ἐν τάξει καὶ ἀπλανῶς νενομένοις παρέμεινεν͵ 8.2 ἀλλ΄ ὁρμήσας ἐπὶ τὴν ζήτησιν πολλὰς μὲν διώδευσε κοιλότητας τε καὶ φάραγγας͵ μεγάλων δὲ καὶ ὑψηλῶν ὑπερηνέχθη σκοπέλων καὶ ταῖς ἐρημίαις καρτερῶς ἐνεμόχθησε͵ μέχρις ἀνίχνευσε τὸ πλανώμενον.

  When he found it, he did not chastise it; he did not use rough blows to drive it back, but gently placed it on his own shoulders and carried it back to the flock. He took greater joy in this one sheep, lost and found, than in all the others.

Εὑρὼν δὲ οὐκ ἔπληξεν͵ οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ ἤλασεν σφοδρῶς ἐπείγων πρὸς τὴν ἀγέλην͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐπιθεὶς τῷ αὐχένι καὶ κομίσας μετὰ φειδοῦς τοῖς συννόμοις ἀποκατέστησεν χαίρων ἐπ΄ ἐκείνῳ πλέον ἢ τῷ πλήθει τῶν ἄλλων.

 

 

 

 

LET us look more closely at the hidden meaning of this parable. The sheep is more than a sheep, the shepherd more than a shepherd. They are examples enshrining holy truths. They teach us that we should not look on men as lost or beyond hope; we should not abandon them when they are in danger or be slow to come to their help. When they turn away from the right path and wander, we must lead them back, and rejoice at their return, welcoming them back into the company of those who lead good and holy lives.

8.3 Νοήσωμεν τοίνυν τὸ πρᾶγμα τὸ τοῖς αἰνίγμασιν ἐγκρυπτόμενον. Τὸ γὰρ πρόβατον οὐκ ὄντως πρόβατον καὶ ὁ ποιμὴν δὲ πάντως ἄλλο τι͵ οὐ μὴν ὁ τῶν ἀλόγων νομεύς͵ ἀλλ΄ ἔστιν ὑποδείγματα ταῦτα τῶν ἱερέων παιδευτικά͵ ἵνα τῶν ἀνθρώπων μήτε προχείρως ἀπελπίζωμεν μήτε καταρρᾳθυμῶμεν κινδυνευόντων. Ζητῶμεν δὲ τὸν ἐμπαθῆ καὶ ἐπανάγωμεν εἰς τάξιν καὶ χαίρωμεν τοῖς ἐπιστρέφουσιν καὶ τῷ πληρώματι τῶν ὀρθῶς βιούντων ἀναμιγνύωμεν.

 

 

 

 


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