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Thursday, February 23, 2006

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Thursday, 23 February 2006 Today the Church celebrates : St. Polycarp

Saint John Chrysostom : Paths for entering eternal life Letter of James 5,1-6.

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.

Psalms 49,14-20.

This is the destiny of those who trust in folly, the end of those so pleased with their wealth. Selah
Like sheep they are herded into Sheol, where death will be their shepherd. Straight to the grave they descend, where their form will waste away, Sheol will be their palace.
But God will redeem my life, will take me from the power of Sheol. Selah
Do not fear when others become rich, when the wealth of their houses grows great.
When they die they will take nothing with them, their wealth will not follow them down.
When living, they congratulate themselves and say: "All praise you, you do so well."
But they will join the company of their forebears, never again to see the light.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 9,41-50.

Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Commentary of the day :

Saint John Chrysostom (around 345-407), Bishop of Antioch, then of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church

Sermon on the devil who tempts

Paths for entering eternal life

Do you want me to show you the paths of conversion? They are numerous, varied and different, but they all lead to heaven. The first path of conversion is the condemnation of our faults. “You yourself begin by saying your faults in order to be justified.” And that is why the prophet said: “I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin.” (Ps 32:5) So you yourself condemn the faults you have committed, and that will be enough for the Master to hear you. For the person who condemns his faults will be more afraid of falling back into them…

There is a second path, which is not inferior to the first one. It is that we do not hold a grudge against our enemies, that we overcome our anger in order to forgive the offences of our companions in service, for that is how we shall obtain forgiveness for those which we commit against the Master. That is the second way of obtaining purification from our faults. The Lord says: “If you forgive th e faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive yours.” (Mt 6:14)

Do you want to know the third path of conversion? It is the fervent and attentive prayer in the depth of your heart… The fourth path is alms; it has considerable and unspeakable power… Then modesty and humility are not inferior means for destroying sins by their root. We have the publican as a witness; he could not proclaim his good deeds, but he replaced them all with the offering of his humility, and thus he laid down the heavy burden of his faults (Lk 18:9f.).

We have shown you five paths of conversion…So don’t remain inactive, but use all of these paths each day. They are easy paths, and you cannot use your destitution as a pretext.

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