September 13, 2017

John Chrysostom

September 13, 2017:  St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor

  • 'Gun' pin:  Put your worldly parts to death (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Seek what's above, where Christ is seated at God's right hand (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Let your faithful speak of your Kingdom's glory and of your might (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Jesus raised his eyes toward his disciples (gospel)
  • 'Bitten apple' pin (forgot, so see here):  "Blessed you hungry; you'll be satisfied" / "Woe to you full; you'll be hungry." (gospel)
  • 'Money' tie:  "Put greed to death" (1st reading); "woe to you rich" (gospel) (trumped "Doctor's office tie" I would have otherwise worn for "doctor" of the Church St. John Chrystostom)
  • White shirt:  St. John Chrysostom

For the gospel

For Psalm 145
Pope Francis General Audience
In my recent Colombia visit I sought to encourage reconciliation after 50 years of conflict and division.  Its motto, "Let us take the first step," was also an appeal to discover spiritual resources to advance the work of healing and rebuilding.  We emphasized Christian discipleship and mission.  The example of SS. Peter Claver and Maria Bernarda Bütler reaffirmed our commitment to human promotion and the defense of human rights.  Through the prayers of Colombia Patroness Our Lady of Chiquinquirá may the nation progress in peace, love, justice, and truth.
  • Col 3:1-11  Seek what's above; you've died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Put to death your earthly parts:  immorality, impurity, evil desire, and the greed that's idolatry.  You used to live like that, but now you must put away anger, malice, slander, obscene language, lying....  You've taken off the old self and put on the new, where there's no Greek or Jew,... slave or free; but Christ is all and in all.
  • Ps 145:2-3, 10-13ab  "The Lord is compassionate toward all his works."  Every day I'll praise you.  Your greatness is unsearchable.  May your works give you thanks, tell of your Kingdom's glory, and make your might known.  Your dominion endures forever.
  • Lk 6:20-26  “Blessed are you:  poor; the Kingdom is yours.  ...hungry; you'll be satisfied.  ...weeping; you'll laugh.  ...when people hate, exclude, insult, and denounce you...; your reward will be great.  But woe to you:  rich; you've received your consolation.  ...full; you'll be hungry.  ...laughing; you'll grieve and weep.  ...when all speak well of you....”
  • Creighton:  Both readings address ideals of strategic planning:  “If you were raised with Christ, seek what's above,” putting our earthly inclinations to death.  These 'tactics' pursue the goal of seeking what's above.  Our daily lives are built on small individual actions that open us up to the Spirit's guidance and to grace to support God’s plan.
Jesus knows his followers will weep and be hated and excluded.  We're part of God’s strategic plan and can find ourselves in it.  May we put aside our earthly inclinations, becoming indifferent and detached from those chains, and hear the Spirit revealing our unique role.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Out with the old; in with the new":  Today's readings address two opposite ways of life:  the "old self" and "new self":  the old self is our life without Jesus, with anger, malice, insults, lying, evil desires, lust, desire for pleasure and things of this world; the new self allows Jesus to form our actions, thoughts, and words and set us free from sin and for service, worship, and evangelization.  In Baptism, our old self died with Christ, but now our lives can seem like a civil war.  We want to live a good life, but we sin.  May we live our Baptism....
    Luke vs. Matthew
    (See also this deck)
  • Passionist:  In today’s gospel Jesus upends our values; what we call blessings are curses and what we call curses, blessings!  Luke’s beatitudes differ from Matthew’s:  in the Sermon on the Mount, he uses the third person and speaks to the spiritual ("poor in spirit"...), but in the sermon on the plain, Jesus speaks to us bluntly face-to-face about material and economic conditions ("the poor"...).  In “Woe to you rich; you have received your consolation,”  'have' is 'ἀπέχετε,' 'to have in full,' commonly used on receipts for “paid in full.”  What the rich want and receive on earth is all they'll get.  McKenna (Blessings and Woes) says it challenges us to conversion; it's “about seeing as God sees, not through rose-colored glasses but in the light that emerges as a force to be reckoned with in Jesus…”  These kingdom values shatter earthly values, calling us to “think of what's above, not what's on earth.”  The world may ridicule us, but Jesus looks at us and challenges us....
    St. John Chrysostom,
    Archbishop of Constantinople
  •  "Blessed are you poor; God's kingdom is yours":  No one can escape life's trials.  Jesus gave his disciples a "way of happiness" that transcends difficulty and trouble.  'Beatitude' means happiness/blessedness.  Jesus' way demands transformation from within, conversion only possible through the Spirit's gift and work.  To be filled with joy and happiness, we must empty ourselves of whatever shuts God out.  The poor in spirit possess God alone as their treasure.  Hunger seeks nourishment and strength in God's word.  Sorrow and mourning over sin leads to freedom.
Ambrose links the beatitudes with the four cardinal virtues "See how Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four.  There are four cardinal virtues:  temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.  One who is poor in spirit is not greedy.  One who weeps is submissive and tranquil, not proud.  One who mourns is humble.  One who is just doesn't deny what's given to all for us.  One who is merciful gives away his goods.  One who bestows his goods doesn't seek another's or contrive traps.  These virtues are interwoven, so that we see that one with one has several. Where virtue abounds, so too the reward; thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice compassion, patience peace, and endurance gentleness" (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 5.62–63, 68, paraphrased).
God reveals to the humble the true source of happiness. Jesus promises heaven's joys will more than compensate for this world's troubles and hardships. "No one can live without joy.  One deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Thomas Aquinas).
St. John Chrysostom ("Goldmouth")
  • Universalis:  Exiled ascetic, preacher, patriarch, reformer

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