Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, B.D., (13th September, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 144:2-3.10-13. (R.v.9);
Saint John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence was born in Antioch of Christian parents, about the year 344. He studied rhetoric under Libanius. In 374, he began to lead the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but in 386 the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest. In 398, he was elevated to the See of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. He was exiled on account of the accusations against him from his enemies. The Pope remaining with him consoled him. He was later banished further to the very extremity of the Empire (Pythius). He died on his way there on September 14, 407. Saint John is the patron saint of Constantinople, education, epilepsy, lecturers, orators, and preachers. He is venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Church of the East.
Topic: Ultimate reversal.
Jesus proclaimed that those who are poor, those who are hungry now, those who weep now, and those people hate, exclude, revile, and defame on account of the Son of Man as blessed. On the contrary, woes to the rich, those who are filled now, those laughing now, and those people speak well of.
One might conclude that being poor, hungry, weeping, hated, defamed, and so on are tickets to heaven. Whereas, being rich, filled, laughing, and having good name are channels of hell.
However, both poverty and riches are from the same LORD, cf. 1Sam 2:7; Prov 22:2). Does it then mean that God destined some for hell?
The problem is when one forgets to show kindness, pursuing the poor, the needy and the broken-hearted to their death (Ps 109:16). It is wrong to despise, oppress, and/or mock the poor, cf. Prov 14:21, 31. 17:5. 22:16. Whoever closes his/her ear to the cry of the poor, will cry out and not be heard, cf. Prov 21:13.
We read from the Psalms, “Happy are those who consider the poor; the LORD delivers them in the day of trouble” (Ps 41:1). Elsewhere we also read, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and will be repaired in full” (Prov 19:17). Again, “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but one who turns a blind eye will get many a curse” (Prov 28:27). We ought to follow Christ who though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that by His poverty we might become rich, cf. 2Cor 8:9. Saint John Chrysostom rightly teaches, “If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice.”
Bible Reading: Deut 30:11-20; Jas 2:1-13.
Thought for today: We are all from the same God.
Let us pray: Lord, help us live in hope for the kingdom of heaven, where there will be true fulfilment, laughing, and rejoicing – Amen.
Saint John Chrysostom – Pray for us.
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