Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Visited His people...

"A friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extingui

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"A friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends; better to live in darkness, than to be without friends."
— St. John Chrysostom

"Perhaps we do not know what love is, nor does this greatly surprise me. Love does not consist in great sweetness of devotion, but in a fervent determination to strive to please God in all things, in avoiding, as far as possible, all that would offend Him, and in praying for the increase of the glory and honor of His Son and for the growth of the Catholic Church."
— St. Teresa of Avila, p. 54-5
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Saint John Chrysostom

Saint of the Day for September 13
(c. 349 – September 14, 407)

Saint John Chrysostom's Story

The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means "golden-mouthed") from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam's fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel and impious Herodias were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.

John Chrysostom's preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage, he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification, and exile.
Saint John Chrysostom is the Patron Saint of:



Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-09-13


I pause for a moment and think of the love
and the grace that God showers on me:
I am created in the image and likeness of God;
I am God's dwelling-place.


Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom.
I pray for all prisoners and captives.


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
readings audio

Reading 1 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31a

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.

Now you are Christ's Body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the Church
to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5
R. (3) We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
For he is good, the LORD,
whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Alleluia Lk 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
"Do not weep."
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
"A great prophet has arisen in our midst,"
and "God has visited his people."
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

How many mothers have hoped and prayed for something like this to happen.
What do I pray for when I see a young mother walking behind the coffin of her son?
Ask the Lord to make me appreciate the need to pray for what people need and not only for what they desire. The bereaved mother usually requires the grace to cope with the sadness and to face life with courage and trust in God.


How has God's Word moved me?
Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and share my feelings with him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Mass Reading & Meditation for September 13, 2016
Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Luke 7:11-17

Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted. (Luke 7:14)

Did you know that this is the only time that the city of Nain is mentioned in the Bible? It's also one of the few times Luke notes the location of an event. Some believe that the city was about six miles southeast of Nazareth, at the foot of Little Hermon mountain, but no one is certain.

We may not know exactly where Nain is, but Jesus knew. He also knew what he would do when he got there: bring life.

Try something different with this reading today. Imagine yourself coming to the city gate with Jesus. The funeral procession approaches, and he sees the grieving widow surrounded by mourners. Jesus walks up to the coffin, and they stop. Surely they have heard about him and the wonders he is performing. A sense of anticipation hangs in the air.

Now picture the tenderness on Jesus' face as he turns to the widow and says, "Do not weep" (Luke 7:13). His mere presence brings a sense of hope. Then with a simple command, he calls the young man back to life.

Finally, imagine Jesus walking into your little town, into your life. He knows exactly where you are and what you need. He touches your circumstances, your weaknesses, and your failings. Take a moment to stop and wait. There is healing, deliverance, and restoration in his presence. He looks at you, and he says, "Arise!" (Luke 7:14).

Things may be noisy around you, as they were in the widow's grief-stricken procession. Maybe you are rushing from task to task, but then you suddenly remember that God is with you. Maybe as your emotions are rising in frustration, you recall his patient love. Or perhaps your children are being disruptive at Mass, but then you feel gratitude welling up in your heart, and you are able to refocus on the Lord. Any of these things can be the touch of Jesus. When you feel this internal shift, stop and allow his presence to fill you. Let him touch you and bring new life.

"Thank you, Jesus, for pursuing me. I welcome you into my life and ask you to touch the parts of me that need to be set free."

1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
Psalm 100:1-5



The Word of the Lord began today "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ." This means much, because the following verse speaks about the Spirit. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body" and says we all drink of one Spirit. The chalice of death shall be served to all, but before that, the chalice of Christ, the Savior of the World.
We prayed today "We are his people: the sheep of his flock. Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends" Can it be that the Lord is also one of the sheep? Of course, for many times His own disciples would not recognize Him until He revealed Himself to them. I want you in your life, to let Himself be revealed. It happens daily, in your heart, He visits you in the stranger, and in the loved one. He can be in anyone at any given time, especially when that love leads you to God, you will know.

The Lord enters the lives of strangers today, a widow, and her only son...dead. They say that Saint Joseph probably died early on, leaving Mary, the mother of our Lord, a widow. Jesus was her only Son. Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God the Father. The only son sees another "only son" dead in a coffin, and the mother's life is torn, shattered to pieces. I seen when my cousin my age died a few years ago, the tragic and sudden death left her devastated, my aunt. This son of hers was an oddball, of all her sons, this one was the most attached probably, always visiting her, helping her, talking with her. To this day, she is severely marked with this loss. But this would not do justice to the widow in today's story. Unlike my aunt, this widow had no husband, no other children to console her, to be with her from that day forth, no source of income, no source of comfort...
And so, in comes our Lord into her life and the son's life. Listen to Psalm 23, because the word Nain, where the widow and son were at, the word "Nain" means "green pastures", and so Psalm 23 says: "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.…"
and indeed, the Lord made them lie in green pastures, to take rest, comfort, and He restores life into the widow, and life into her only son. This deed alone guided them to hoiness...for His Holy name.
What does this mean to you personally? It means God loves you. I hugged the oldest brother of my dead cousin last week in the desert retreat I invited him to. He is divorcing, distraught, and alone. These silly words kept coming out of my mouth to him "It's because God loves you". He loves you, and He wants you all to Himself. He wants His healing touch and love to reach the depths of your dead soul. Because we live among the dead, and these dead people can walk and talk. Spiritually dead, devastated by life and mortal sin. The Body of Christ heals itself. His world was designed perfectly, and in holiness, designed to be good. If you see otherwise, you are looking at smoke and mirrors. Did not the people today exclaim in astonishment "God has visited His people!"?
God is closer than you think or dare to imagine. For those of us who consume the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, there is much to take into the heart:
JESUS is Ready and Willing to give His life for love
Jesus needs to Heal
Jesus shows the way
All else inside, make room and die away, for life to grow!