Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad. He who said: “This is my body” is the same who said: “You saw me hungry and you gave me no food”, and “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me”… What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.
This quote is another one from the Early Church Father, Saint John Chrysostom (349-407 AD). As I have shared in previous posts, Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople, and is best known for his preaching and public speaking as well as his clear denunciation of the abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders. This is the fourth post I have shared over the past week that illustrates this saint’s deep concern for the poor and hungry.
In my first post on Chrysostom I shared his statement that feeding the hungry is greater and more powerful than working miracles. He was showing that walking along side the poor and hungry should be an integral part of authentic spirituality. This quote’s focus is on the wealth of a Church surrounded by poverty and hunger.
All I can say is Amen! or as my preacher friends down in North Carolina would say, “that will preacher, brother, that will preach.
A wealthy Church in a world of hunger and poverty is a guilty Church. Every child that dies from hungry is an indictment against a fat and prosperous Church. Every person that dies of hunger is a recrucifixion of Christ by those of us who claim to be his disciples but feed the organization rather than the hungry.
In the end, I guess it’s all about priorities…maybe it’s about loyalty…or maybe it’s about faithfulness. What do you think?