Friday, September 13, 2019

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

(I Timothy 1:1-2.12-14; Luke 6:39-42)

Pope Francis has raised eyebrows by moving out of the papal apartments.  This is the spirit of St. John Chrysostom whom the Church remembers today.  As Patriarch of Constantinople, then the capital of the Roman Empire, John criticized the wealthy for not caring for the poor.  Pointedly, he accused the empress of lavishness.

John Chrysostom criticized the aristocracy of Constantinople as he was a faithful disciple of Jesus.  As Jesus says in today’s gospel, when a disciple is fully trained, he will become like the master.  As Jesus chastised the powerful for neglect of charity, so John Chrysostom challenged spendthrift Christians.

Pope Francis is calling the Church to a deeper sensitivity toward the poor and war-weary.  No doubt, he realizes that the complexities of poverty and of warfare are daunting.  Nevertheless, he wants Catholics to show more urgency in dealing with them.  In other words, he wants us to become true disciples of Jesus.