Today the Church celebrates the memory and work of St. John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church.
St. John Chrysostom was made, despite his protests, leader of the greatest and most powerful church of his day— the Church of Constantinople.
His cathedral was the magnificent Hagia Sophia, his congregation not only the cosmopolitan inhabitants of the city, but the Byzantine emperor and his court.
Yet St. John was not flattered by the presence of celebrity, nor was he impressed by wealth. He saw himself as a servant of God’s truth in Christ and therefore repeatedly called for the transformation of the society of his day, reminding the wealthy of their responsibility to aid the poor, and all Christians to remain faithful to the Lord in whom they had been saved.
His preaching enthralled, captivated, puzzled and offended the Church of Constantinople.
For his tenacity in truth-telling, he received a prophet’s reward — he was deposed from his office and sent into a punishing exile.
We learn from St. John Chrysostom the importance of authentic and bold witness to Jesus Christ, but we also learn that such witness may cost us dearly.
May St. John Chrysostom inspire us to proclaim Christ’s truth even in the face of difficulty and misunderstanding. May we seek, like St. John Chrysostom, the transformation of all things in Christ, by bringing the Gospel to bear on all that we say and do.