St. John Chrysostom died 1611 years ago tomorrow. He was a Syrian. He suffered at the hands of hostile secular rulers. He suffered at the hands of jealous fellow clerics. He lived an endless love affair with Christ, with learning, and with his flock. He bequeathed to us an all-but-bottomless treasury of Christian love, rendered in writing.
At Holy Mass today, we heard the Lord Jesus command us: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”
One way to answer that question might be to meditate on another question: To whom does Easter belong? Here is St. John Chrysostom’s answer to that question:
Are there any who are devout lovers of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Are there any who are grateful servants? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; if any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt, for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate, but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first….
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hell when He descended into it…
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!