Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1/27/15 - St. John Chrysostom

Today is one of the days in the church calendar where we celebrate St. John the "Golden Mouth" Chrysostom.
His golden mouth led him to be a favorite of the people. Soon, he was whisked away from his church to become a bishop by political leaders based on his amazing speaking, but they were in for more than they bargained.
He began a series of reforms where, it is described, that "he swept the stairs from the top down." He called out political figures for corruption. He whipped his clergy into place. He refused to host the usual lavish banquets and preached against the wealthy as thieves of the poor. With the money he saved from a simple lifestyle, he opened a string of hospitals for the poor. Then he turned his sights to his congregation. The common people absolutely loved him. 
As you might suspect, this made him unpopular with the rich and powerful. Ultimately he was exiled from his position for some trumped up theological charges. But the support and love from the people continued, even past his death, to help make him one of the three most important figures in Eastern Christianity.
A couple quotes from the man on wealth and poverty:
“The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly or inherited them legally.” 
“Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs.” 
“When you are weary of praying and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.”
"Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad. He who said: 'This is my body' is the same who said: 'You saw me hungry and you gave me no food,' and 'Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me'... What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well."

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