Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Father Patrick Butler, LC
Luke 6: 20-26
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
Introductory Prayer: God the Father, thank you for the gift of creation, including my own life. God the Son, thank you for redeeming me at the price of your own Body and Blood. God the Holy Spirit, thank you for being the sweet guest of my soul, enlightening my mind, strengthening my spirit and kindling the fire of your love in my heart.
Petition: Father, help me to seek the things that are above.
1. Because You Say It, Lord… In this passage, I can picture Jesus raising his eyes to look into the faces of his followers. Today, he looks into my eyes and engages my attention with his loving gaze. I accept what he tells me because it is he who speaks. I believe that he has the words of eternal life. Naturally, poverty, hunger, sorrow and being excluded do not appeal to me, but they are the values of my beloved Lord, and that is enough for me.
2. Seek First the Kingdom: Jesus encourages me to strive for the values of his Kingdom, to be forgetful of myself and my well-being. He will take care of me and give me recompense. Heaven awaits me – laughter and joy, a fullness that is unfathomable. It is arduous not to seek “heaven on earth” in riches and pleasure and in fitting in with the crowd. It takes a vision of faith and a spirit of perseverance.
3. Warning Signs: St. Luke transmits to us not only the Beatitudes, but also their opposites. These are like warning signs. If my path is aligned with these opposites, I had better be attentive – where does that road lead me in the long run? Where my heart is, there also is my treasure. Is heavenly, eternal happiness my heart’s desire or are earthly, temporal delights?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the joy of experiencing some of the heavenly joy of being united to you here on earth. Help me to find my fulfillment in loving you, in giving my life to you.
Resolution: I will examine what motivates me in my daily duty, striving to purify my intention. I will act out of love of God and not out of self-love.