13Sep 13th September. Saturday, Week 23

Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church.

John from Antioch (347–407) was nicknamed “Chrysostom” (Golden-tongued) for his eloquent preaching and writing. He lived for years as a monk before being made Patriarch of of Constantinople. His stormy relationship with the imperial household there caused him to be three times exiled, and during the final exile he died, aged sixty. Many of his treatises and sermons have survived, for which he is honoured as a doctor of the church.

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

(Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body)

Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Gospel: Gospel: Luke 6:43-49

(The house of faith built securely on rock, survives the flood.)

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”

Grounded on a Rock

Rock has any number of important symbolical meanings in the Bible, but all of them converge on strength, consistency, fidelity, and continuity. In Num 20:11, the rock is struck by Moses’ rod and produces sweet water. In 1 Cor 10:4 this rock follows the Israelites through the desert as a continuous source of water. The rock, says Paul, is Christ. In Ps 81:17 it even produces honey. In Isa 28:16 the rock supports the Jerusalem temple where God dwells among his people. In Ps 95:1 God himself is acclaimed as the rock of our salvation. In Matthew 16:18 Peter is the rock or foundation of the church.

As these and other passages are stitched together, rock indicates the steady assurance of God’s grace, the presence of God in temple or church, the human representatives of God as Rock. Patience builds this kind of house.

Impatient persons build on sand and so are not dependable. They act or react impulsively. Anger takes control of them before they can think. Rash words are spoken that cannot be obliterated from people’s memories. Within all this haste wisdom is lost. When difficulties come, this person is not dependable. “When the torrent rushed on it, it immediately fell in and was completely destroyed.”


One Response

  1. Fr Lawrence Kudzingo

    I am being nourished daily by reflections of this association.

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