Sunday, September 12, 2010

SEPTEMBER 13 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

St. John Chrysostom,
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
SEPTEMBER 13

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP AND DOCTOR
OF THE CHURCH MEMORIAL

Biographical Information about St. John Chrysostom [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

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Commentary on
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

St. Paul enjoins the Church at Ephesus to holiness and unity as part of his instructions on what it means to live the Christian life. Through one baptism (“the call you have received”) we are united in Christ and through Christ to God the Father. While humility is not listed in the Greek lists as a virtue, the evangelist raises self-effacing service of others to this status (see also 1 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 5:22, and Colossians 3:12).

He goes on speaking of the unity of different parts of the living body of Christ, the Church, saying that different gifts were given (similar lists are found at Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). He begins the list of gifts with those of spiritual leadership: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These have been called to service to others.

CCC: Eph 4-6 1454; Eph 4-5 1971; Eph 4:2 2219; Eph 4:3-5 866; Eph 4:3 814; Eph 4:4-6 172, 249, 2790; Eph 4:7 913; Eph 4:11-16 794; Eph 4:11-13 669; Eph 4:11 1575; Eph 4:13 674, 695, 2045
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 40:2 and 4, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here I am. Lord; I come to do your will.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am. Lord; I come to do your will.

"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am. Lord; I come to do your will.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
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Commentary on
Ps 40:2 and 4, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

While Psalm 40 is a song of thanksgiving, it is also combined with a lament. The initial waiting is satisfied by favor shown by God to one who is faithful in service to Him. Praise and thanksgiving are given to God whose justice is applied to all.

CCC: Ps 40:2 2657; Ps 40:7-9 LXX 462; Ps 40:7 2824
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GOSPEL

Long Form
Mark 4:1-10, 13-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
Jesus answered them,
"Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no root; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."
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Commentary on
Mk 4:1-10, 13-20

St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” As in St. Matthew’s Gospel he follows the unvarnished parable with a deeper explanation to the Disciples.


In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. Because this selection gives not only the parable but the Lord’s explanation of its meaning, the only historical note we will make is that, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.
CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707; Mk 4:15-19 2707
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OR
Short Form
Mark 4:1-9

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."
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Commentary on
Mk 4:1-9

The shorter form of the Parable of the Sower omits Jesus’ explanation of the story to his disciples. When so shortened, the story becomes a compelling warning to those who would follow Christ.

CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707
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Reflection:

When we consider the early shepherds of the Church, such as St. John “Golden Tongue” Chrysostom, whose memorial we celebrate, we find the analogy of the sower quite apt. Ironically, it is more appropriate when we consider it in the context of how sowing was traditionally done in the day of our saint rather than how we think of it in today’s agricultural practice.

When we go into the world with the Word of God we go into a field that has been well prepared. It has been ploughed and the soil has been treated through many plantings so weeds find it difficult to grow. We plant our seed in furrows that, while resistant to some degree, have known the seed we plant. It is because we ourselves were planted and took root and the seed we spread has been cultivated to resist attacks of pestilence and draught.

In the day of St. John Chrysostom, seed was scatted on the earth, later to be ploughed. Other seed, like weeds and thorns, were mixed in with it before the plough came along and many times the roots became entangled. Killing the weed could also mean killing the grain as well. St. John was adept at separating the good seed from the bad. He was among the first to truly plough the Lord’s field and bring in a great harvest for his landlord – the Son of God.

We owe him a debt of gratitude for the hard and dangerous work he did on our behalf. Now confident that he has found his place in the heavenly kingdom, we ask for his prayers as well. We ask that he ask our Heavenly Father to prosper the work of our hands in that same effort as we, who were seed, spread the Word that is seed for generations to come. May the Holy Spirit that so richly guided St. John Chrysostom, guide us as well.

Pax

[1] The picture is St. John Chrysostom, Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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