HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
THEME: THE COMPASSIONATE NATURE OF GOD
BY: Fr. Francis Onwunali
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 13 2022
We celebrate today, the Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church. Together with St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, they are the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. St. John was born in Antioch about 347 A.D., was a great genius. He became a priest after living in a cave, studying Scripture as a monk-hermit. He electrified Antioch with his fiery sermons, filled with a knowledge and eloquence that were astonishing. This earned him the surname, Chrysostom or “golden mouth”. As Archbishop of Constantinople, his courageous stance against the vices of even the wealthy and political class caused him to be exiled several times. As a result he died in 407, still in exile.
Today’s readings highlight the compassionate nature of Jesus in carrying out His ministry and the call for shared responsibility in building up the body of Christ. St. Paul in the first reading (1 Cor 12: 12-14, 27-31) reminds the Corithians to acknowledge each person’s shared responsibility is building up the body of Christ. As no part of the body is less imoprtant in the corporate existence and functionality of the body, so is each one of us in the life of the Church, the Body of Christ.
In the gospel (Luke 7: 11-17), Jesus reveals God’s unconditional love for each of us. In bringing back to life the son of the widowed woman at Naim, Jesus breaks the barrier that holds us back from experiencing God’s compassion and mercy.
Dear friends, Jesus’ physical touch and personal identification with the widow’s loss of her only son not only showed the depths of his love and concern for her, but pointed to his desire to free everyone from the power of sin and moral corruption, and even death itself. How compassionate are you in dealing with others?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will be filled with compassion to reach out to others in their moments of need. May Jesus speak His word to us as He did to the widow’s son and give us renewed hope, strength, and courage to follow Him in the midst of life’s sorrows and joys. Have a compassionate-full day!