Brethren, we ought to regard Jesus Christ as God and judge of the living and the dead. We should not hold our Savior in low esteem for if we esteem him but little, we may hope to obtain but little from him. Moreover, people who hear these things and think them of small importance commit sin, and we ourselves sin if we do not realize what we have been called from, who has called us, and to what place, and how much suffering Jesus Christ endured on our account.
How then shall we repay him? What fruit can we bear that would be worthy of what he has given us? For how many benefits are we not in his debt! He has enlightened our minds; he has called us sons as a father does; he saved us when we were about to perish. How then shall we praise him, how repay him for his gifts? Spiritually blind, we worshiped stones and pieces of wood, gold and silver and bronze, things made by men, and our whole life was death. Darkness enfolded us, and nothing but gloom met our eyes. Then, by his will, we escaped from the cloud that enveloped us and recovered our sight. For he saw our many errors and the damnation that awaited us, and knowing that apart from him we had no hope of salvation, he pitied us, and in his mercy saved us. He called us when we were not his people and willed us to become his people.
"Rejoice, O barren woman who never bore a child; break into shouts of joy, you who never knew a mother’s pangs; for the deserted wife shall have more children that she who has a husband." When he says: "Rejoice O barren woman who never bore a child," he is speaking of us, for our Church was barren until children were given her. When he says: "Break into shouts of joy, you who never knew a mother’s pangs," he means that we should not grow weary like women in labor, but tirelessly and in all simplicity offer our prayers to God. He declares that "the deserted wife shall have more children than she who has a husband," because faith has now made our people who seemed to have been deserted by God more numerous than those who were thought to possess him.
Another text says: "I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance," for it is those who are perishing who must be saved. It is a great and wonderful work to uphold those who are falling, rather than those who already stand firm. Christ willed to save people who were in danger of losing their souls, and he has been the salvation of many. When we were on the point of perishing, he came and called us.
Christ willed to save those who were perishing
From a homily written in the second century
The Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. IV, Office of Readings
32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time