Thought of the day
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

"There am I in the midst of them"

Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church 
Homily 8 on the Letter to the Romans, 8
"There am I in the midst of them"

If I tell you to imitate the apostle Paul, that is not to say: “Raise the dead, heal lepers.” Do better than that: have charity. Have the love that animated Saint Paul, for this virtue is far superior to the power to perform miracles. Where there is charity, God the Son reigns with his Father and the Holy Spirit. He has said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” The nature of a friendship that is as strong as it is real, is to enjoy being together.

You will say, are there people who are so miserable that they do not want to have Christ in their midst? Yes, my children, we ourselves. We cast him out of our midst when we fight one against the other. You will say: “What are you talking about? Don’t you see that we are gathered together in his name, all within the same walls, inside the same church, attentive to our pastor’s voice? Not the least dissension in our unity in song and prayer, listening together to our pastor. Where is the discord?”

I know we are in the same fold and under the same shepherd. That only makes me weep all the more bitterly… For if you are calm and quiet at this moment, when you leave the church one person criticizes the other; one publicly insults the other; this one is devoured by envy, jealousy or avarice; another is meditating on revenge, another on sensuality, duplicity or fraud… So have respect. Respect this holy table at which we are all in communion; respect Christ who was sacrificed for us; respect the sacrifice that is offered on this altar in our midst.

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