Today we remember Saint John Christostom. Saint John lived in the late 300s and early 400s, around the time of Saint Patrick. You may not be familiar with him, but he and I have a running conversation. He’s the patron Saint of preachers, and I speak to him often, especially when I’m getting ready to speak to you.
Saint Joh was quite the speaker. In fact, the word Christostom means Golden Mouth. Today I thought today I’d let him speak directly to you. This is from one of his homilies. His words are just as appropriate today as they were in the 4th Century.
The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly on a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. Confiscation of our goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats. I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.
Do you not hear the Lord saying, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst”? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise: I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? “Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!”