13 September, Wednesday – Love of Christ

Sep 13 – Memorial for St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor

John’s (347-407) father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. It was for his sermons that John earned the title “Chrysostom” (golden-mouthed). They were always on point, they explained the scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours.

As bishop, he criticised the rich for not sharing their wealth, fought to reform the clergy, prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, and encouraged practices of justice and charity. St. John’s sermons caused nobles and bishops to work to remove him from his diocese; twice exiled from his diocese. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451.

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Colossians 3:1-11

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry. And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing, but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

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Luke 6:20-26

Fixing his eyes on his disciples Jesus said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.
Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

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There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

As Christians living in the world, it is sometimes easy for us to lose sight of the purpose of our lives. We may be caught up with things such as the pursuit of prestige, the accumulation of wealth in this world or even the desire to being recognised by others. The readings of today remind us that such pursuits are not our main priority but rather Christ is the main focus.

Jesus came down to suffer and to die for us despite us being unworthy to have such a wonderful Saviour. We are known as Christians because we follow Christ. People around us have a high expectation of what we are supposed to do and will comment if we do not follow what is to be done.

It is not easy to be free from the sins mentioned in the First Reading today. Even in the time of St Paul, there has already been these matters which have hurt the community. We need to be on guard against these matters by reminding ourselves to put on our new self.

We know we are on the right track when we start to see the things which are happening in the Beatitudes occurring in our lives. Whilst I am not advocating we pick a fight, I do believe that we should be happy if we are to made to suffer for Christ. As we continue with our lives today, let us remember that it is Jesus who should animate our every action and word to the people whom we speak.

(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let us always stay close to you despite all the troubles which we may face.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for those who are teachers.

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