Christmas Charity:Give a Coat, Receive Immortality

mercytoChrist

Many church fathers were believed that giving charity to the poor really and always was lending to the Lord Jesus.  This truth they based upon the teachings of Christ Himself in the parable of the Last Judgment:

Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’   (Matthew 25:34-40)

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) is one of the church fathers who encourages giving to the poor as being beneficial to the giver.  Why?  Because for Chrysostom in the end every gift to the poor is a gift to God and God in His Kingdom will repay everyone for what they gave Him through giving to the poor in this world.  Chrysostom preaches:

“Surely you must not think of giving alms to the poor as an expense but as a source of income. It is not an outlay of money but it is a profitable business. For you get back more than you give. You give bread and get back eternal life. You give a coat and get back a garment of immortality. You give your house to be shared and you get back a heavenly kingdom. You offer perishable things and you receive things which last forever. […]  An amount of wealth does not by its nature produce almsgiving, but the amount of good intention does. […]  God does not demand a large contribution but he does require a wealth of good intention. The spirit of almsgiving is not shown by the measure of what has been given but by the willingness of those who give.” (On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, pp 216-218)

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One thought on “Christmas Charity:Give a Coat, Receive Immortality

  1. Pingback: Charity at Christmas | Fr. Ted's Blog

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