September 13, 2014

John Chrysostom

September 13, 2014:  St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor

  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  "Avoid idolatry."  (1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "The bread we break is a participation in Christ's Body" (1st reading)
  • 'Grapes' pin:  "The cup we bless is a participation in Christ's Blood" (1st reading); "People don't gather grapes from brambles" (gospel)
  • 'Tree' and 'fruit' pins:  "Good trees don't bear rotten fruit" (gospel)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  "One who listens to and acts on my words is like one building on rock" (gospel)
  • 'Cups' tie:  "I'll take up the cup of salvation..." (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "...and call on the Lord's name" (psalm)
  • 'Medical' pin:  St. John Chrysostom, Church 'doctor'
  • Gold-colored accoutrements:  St. John "Goldmouth"
  • White shirt:  color of St. John's memorial
Pope Francis homily at WWI memorial
War is madness.  We're called to participate in God's work of creation, but war destroys, ruining human beings and fraternal bonds.  Distorted passion, greed, intolerance, and lust for power lead to war.  It's justified by an ideology, or merely, like Cain, “What does it matter to me?  Am I my brother’s keeper?”  War doesn't look directly at anyone.  Each had plans and dreams, but their lives were cut short.

It's the opposite of what Jesus asks of us:  he's in the least; he's the one who hungers and thirsts, the stranger, the prisoner, the sick person....  Those who care for others enter into the Lord's joy; those who don't—who say, “What does it matter to me?”—are excluded.  The greedy, the power-hungry, arms manufactures and sellers, plotters of terrorism, schemers of conflicts, say, “What does it matter to me?”
The wise must recognize errors, feel pain, repent, beg for pardon, and cry.  Merchants of war have lost the capacity to cry; “What does it matter to me?” prevents the tears.  Cain didn't cry, and Cain's shadow is here now.  Move from “What does it matter to me?” to tears for the fallen, for all victims.  Weep.
    Wordle: Readings 9-13-14
  • 1 Cor 10:14-22  Avoid idolatry.  Isn't the cup we bless participation in Christ's Blood and the bread we break participation in his Body?  We are one Body for we all partake of the one loaf....
  • Ps 116:12-13, 17-18  "To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise."  How shall I make a return to the Lord for the good he's done for me?  I'll take up the cup of salvation, call on the Lord's name, and pay my vows to the Lord.
  • Lk 6:43-49  “A good tree doesn't bear rotten fruit, nor a rotten tree good fruit.  Every tree is known by its fruit.  “Why do you call me Lord but not do what I command?  One who listens to and acts on my words is like one building a house on rock, but one who doesn't act is like one who built without a foundation....”
St. John Chrysostom,
Archbishop of Constantinople
St. John Chrysostom ("Goldmouth")

    • Creighton:  It's not enough to listen to Jesus or even be in relationship with him; you must act.  When we are in a real love relationship with Jesus, the response can come naturally; “from the heart's fullness the mouth speaks.”  Consider that after each of the four points of The Contemplation on God's Love from the Spiritual Exercises (God’s gifts to me, God’s self-giving to me, God’s labors for me, God’s unceasing giving and gifting), St. Ignatius proposes my love response to be the Suscipe (see July 31). 
    • One Bread One Body:  If we're one as Jesus and the Father are, then the world will believe the Father sent the Son, God's plan will be fulfilled, and God's kingdom will have come.  Our unity is essential.  In one Spirit, we've been baptized into one body.  Because unity is necessary, so is Communion.
    • Passionist:  The trees/fruits analogy is in reference to false prophets who couldn't produce good fruit (Jer 23:9-40), true in Jeremiah's time, Luke's, and ours.  From the parable of the two houses:  Only if God is our foundation will we produce good fruit and be equipped for challenges.  Along the same lines, Paul asks whether eating meat sacrificed to idols builds up or tears down the body of Christ.  How do my actions affect my community?
    •   The fig tree was the favorite (symbol of fertility, peace, and prosperity), grapes produced wine (symbol of joy), but thorns and brambles were only good as fuel for fire.  Charles Read:  "Sow an act and you reap a habit.  Sow a habit and you reap a character.  Sow a character and you reap a destiny."  Character grows over a lifetime.  Sound living produces good fruit.  Do I cultivate good fruit in my life?
    Proverb inspiring parable:  "After the storm, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm" (Pr 10:25).  The foundation we build on determines how we'll survive storms.  Our character is revealed in our choices.  Only practice proves sincerity.  How am I before God, myself, and others?

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