Thursday, September 13, 2018

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church

(I Corinthians 8:1b-7.11-13; Luke 6:27-38)

Reading a biographical sketch of St. John Chrysostom, one is reminded of Pope Francis.  Like Francis, John was an excellent preacher.  In fact, the appellation “Chrysostom” means golden-mouth.  He was also a bishop of an imperial see who lived in simplicity and befriended the poor.  John made enemies among the elite for his outspoken opposition to aristocratic extravagances.  He particularly criticized churchmen for unseemly wealth and abuse of power.  The lives of both John and Francis indicate an assimilation of today’s readings.

St. Paul tells the Corinthians that love demands sacrifices.  He says that even if some desired action is not evil but would cause scandal, one should not do it out of love.  Paul’s words reflect a profound acceptance of Jesus’ teaching. The Lord commands his disciples to love even their enemies.  Their love must do more than wish the other person well.  It must be willing to make sacrifices for the person.

It is fair to ask if Jesus should be taken literally when he tells us to “’give to everyone who asks of you.’”  I do not believe that it is necessary that we give everything others may request.  But we do have to try to meet people’s basic needs.  We are to clothe the naked and feed the hungry.  We are also to honor the God-like dignity of every man and woman.