MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

September 13, 2019

1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14

 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my loyal child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

Psalm 16: 1-2, 5, 7-8, 11

 

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
 I keep the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

You show me the path of life.
    In your presence there is fullness of joy;
    in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

 

Luke 6: 39-42

 

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor,‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

Meditation

 

The Church is often criticized for being hypocritical. When non-Christians perceive Christians failing to uphold Jesus' perfect standard of love, they will use that as an excuse to stay away from the Church at large. Truly, no one is perfect, and today's scriptures are calling all to greater humility. The Church is called to acknowledge the beam in her eye, and the world apart from the Church is asked to recognize the humanity of the people within the Church. Our faults and sinfulness are things that human nature has in common.

 

Paul started his evangelistic journey with humility. When he met the Lord, he repented of every action he took against the early Christians. Then in his writings and works, he clearly named and identified his need to change and grow toward holiness. He acknowledged his sinfulness before he met the Lord, ("I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence...") and in doing so, he found a connection with those who also did not know Jesus. He could relate to the skeptics and persecutors because he was once one of them.

 

As Christians today, we have the same opportunity as St. Paul. Recognizing the beam in our own eye means that we acknowledge that we are guilty of sin. Then we can say that we truly know the saving power of Christ's love, and we are equipped to share that truth to help others become freed from sin. The path of humility is the path for evangelization of the world.

 

For those of us who struggle with the hypocrisy of certain Church leaders who are involved with scandal, we can remember that the Church has been warned from her beginning about the infiltration of 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. Our job is to grow in holiness by examining ourselves and repenting of sin. Then our testimony and our actions can serve to bless others and draw them into the Kingdom of God.

 

Today, let's ask for God's grace to flow among us. May He give us His peace as we acknowledge our sins in repentance. May we not become proud but remember our own weakness when we observe the shortcomings of our neighbors. Amen.

 

 

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