St John Chrysostom preaches to the Empress Eudoxia: she's not taking it too well!
On this feast of St John Chrysostom I wish all preachers very blessing and the courage of this saintly Patriarch.
St John is, of course, the patron saint of preachers. Known for his forthright preaching, he even challenged the Imperial Court in Constantinople, well known for its corruption. He made enemies for himself and he was exiled for his stance. The Emperor and Empress wanted him out of the way because he chastised them for failing to live up to their Christian faith and doing what was abhorrent in the sight of God.
You all get the message there for our times.
Father Bishops, brother priests, do not be afraid - preach the Gospel in season and out of season. Be gentle but forthright, and do not be frightened, charmed or neutered by the powerful. They too have souls to be saved and need to hear the truth, even if they do not want to. No civic leader takes the place of Christ regardless of how high up they are. All are subject to the authentic Gospel of Christ. And if some should reinterpret that Gospel to suit themselves and their agenda, then correct them even if it makes you unpopular.
And try not to neuter yourself by realising that you too are a sinner in need of conversion - you preach also to yourself. Because we priests fail to live up to the Gospel does not devalue it, but rather makes it a judge over us and our behaviour, and spurs us on to do better. Let our prayer be: "May the converting power of the holy Word of God begin its work in my heart and my life, and then flow out from me to those I serve".
May St John Chrysostom, great preacher in the household of God, intercede for us all: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.