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Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Lectionary: 444 Homily by Deacon William Gallerizzo - St Pius X Church, South Yarmouth, MA Reading 1 Brothers and sisters: As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the Church to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. Responsorial Psalm R. (3) We are his people: the sheep of his flock. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock. Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name. R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock. For he is good, the LORD,  whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.  R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock. Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. A great prophet has arisen in our midst  and God has visited his people. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region. Tuesday, Sept 13, 2016 - Feast of St John Chrysostom Deacon William Gallerizzo - St Pius X Church, South Yarmouth, MA Today is the Feast of St John Chrysostom. Known for his extraordinary skill as a preacher, he was appointed bishop of Constantinople in 398 AD where he became keenly aware of political issues. He criticized those who abused their position to the detriment of the poor, fought to reform the clergy, prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, and encouraged practices of justice and charity. As many of his sermons advocated change in the lives of the nobility, John was eventually exiled to Pythia. He was declared a doctor of the Church in 451, and many of his writings still exist. A big question that arose at the time of John Chrysostom that still arises today, is whether or not the Church should respond to the public issues of the time. Do clergy have the right and responsibility to address public issues from the pulpit? The Church certainly does and this has been reflected upon particularly by St. Paul, John Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, John-Paul, Leo XIII and numerous others, each from different perspectives and concerning different issues. But the Church's authority and responsibility come from two basic premises. First, we human beings are the only part of God's physical creation that can make decisions on our actions concerning values, appropriateness, and moral and ethical content and conduct. We are the only part of creation that can cognitively and constructively assess knowledge of and respond to whether or not our actions coincide within a given framework of values. Therefore, none of our actions occur in a vacuum, and all actions based on our ability to think, to reason, and to decide have some kind of consequence within the spectrum of human existence. Second, the task of the Church as so stated by Christ is to bring mankind as a whole but on an individual basis closer to God within the confines of God's natural law and whether or not human actions coincide within the accepted framework of values. Christ's death on the cross insured that salvation is available. But ultimately, Christ tells us that our actions, and not particularly our words, are the determiners. Recall the parable of the two sons approached by their father for help. One agreed and didn't follow through. The other declined at first, and then helped him anyway. Christ clearly favored the second case over the first. Effects on Personal Autonomy of the Church's teachings are not really an issue. Anyone can make the choice to accept or refute and for any reason. That is not denied. However, no other organization more accurately assesses the trends, the ethical and moral status, and interpreting and predicting the effects and consequences. The Church so states what is the proper course in order to comply with Christ's teachings to love all others in solidarity and subsidiarity with respect to equitable justice in God's eyes, not our own. Therefore, in order to ensure that human actions coincide with the goals on both accounts of coming closer to God, and understanding the spectral range of consequences of human actions, the Church through its bishops and clergy have the responsibility to address private and public issues of the time, at any time and under any conditions. It is not a matter of separation of Church and State as laws establish behavioral acceptability based on an ethical and moral framework, and although the Church has little civil control, the Church holds the precedent in these matters when it comes to affecting how people think. It is not a matter of interjecting personal opinion as much as it is recognizing what is morally and ethically sound, and establishes justice and a communal conscience for all people, by strengthening the solidarity of God's love through the talents and abilities of each person. Paul says this really well as in this morning's reading from 1st Corinthians. This is not a serendipitous process, but one of careful discernment on the part of the Church. What the Church advocates, therefore, is compliance with Christ along the path He has deigned for us to the Father. So when some politician, or anyone else for that matter, feels put upon by the consistency of the Church's position, perhaps the truth has struck closer to home. We all are to act ethically and morally, regardless of how we feel about it. In spite of the fact that humans enact laws and decide agreed upon practices within the societal structure, ethics and morals originate only from God.