Memorial of St. John Chrysostom
(Colossians 3: 1-11, Luke 6: 20-26)
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Saint Paul further develops this theme in his letter to the Galatians. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Christ came into the world to seek and find those who were lost so that he could bind them to himself and give them a hiding place close to his heart. Because Christ has laid down his life for us, our life is made new in him. In Him, we are made one in love and have come to realize that in him we will never be alone. In another place, Saint Paul wrote: “Our citizenship [home] is in heaven” (CF Phil. 3:20). Many of us grew up with the saying: “Home is where the heart is.” My dad used to say, “While it takes hands to build a house, it takes a heart to build a home.
Listen carefully to Jesus’s instruction: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat. 6: 19, 21). Saint Paul’s words to the church in Philippi are encouraging. “I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:12-14). Ideally, our treasure is the crown that God has prepared for us. The question we must grapple with is, Are we grasping for some earthbound treasure, or are we striving to be grasped by the One who treasures us?
As we contend with the enticement of the world, we need to listen attentively to the word of the Lord. “You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you” (Is. 43:4). Because God treasures us, he hides us in the chamber of his heart. He who visits us in the depths of our heart, desires us to make our dwelling place in his heart. Our spiritual life is not only being with Christ but also unity with Christ near the heart of the Father. “We, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). We are not just made new once and for all, but also are being perpetually renewed for all eternity. This act of recreation penetrates more and more deeply, and extends more and more widely, into every aspect of our being.
“We were created for eternal life by our Creator, we are called to it by the word of God, and we are renewed by holy Baptism. And Christ the Son of God came into the world for this, that He should call us and take us there, and He is the one thing needful. For this reason, your very first endeavor and care should be to receive it. Without it everything is as nothing, though you have the whole world under you” (Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk).