Chrysostom on today’s Gospel reading

St. John Chrysostom has something to say about the Gospel reading for today’s Mass.  This is from s. 63.2 on the Gospel of Matthew (PG 58:605):

When the disciples were upset, he said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  But why were the disciples upset since they were poor, in fact very poor?  They were upset for others’ salvation and because the possessed great love toward them all.  Already they were taking on the tenderness of teachers.  At least they were in such trembling and fear for the whole world from Jesus’ declaration as to need much comfort.

And so after Jesus had made eye contact with them, he said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  So with a pleasant and gentle look, he soothed those whose hearts were terrorized and relieved their anguish (for this is what the Evangelist meant by "looking at him").  Then he uplifted them with his words as he focused on the power of God, and thus he gave them faith.

If you also want to learn the way and how the impossible becomes possible, listen.  He did not make this statement that what is impossible for man is possible for God merely so you could relax and do nothing and leave it all to God.  No, he said this so you could understand the importance of calling upon God to give you help in this rigourous contest and that you might more readily approach his grace.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike says:

    Hey, I thought this site was supposed to be all AUGUSTINE, all the time. What gives? ;-)

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Even “All Augustine, All the Time” can fail to satisfy fully. Like yesterday, August 21, when (on the new calendar) we commemorated Pope St. Pius X of such fond and blessed memory, him the true progenitor of the “full and conscious active participation” for which Vatican II has gotten so much credit. I had looked forward eagerly to hearing what the great Augustine might have said about Pius X and the liturgy and all that, only to hear instead from Father Z of his commentary about some rich young man whose actual name is no longer even remembered.

  3. Henry: Sometimes Fr. Z needs some down time.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Sometimes Fr. Z needs some down time.

    And much deserved, let me add, especially since in your Assumption sermon last week you conjoined quite remarkably the very topics – Pius X, active participation, and Vatican II – to which I alluded in my preceding post. Though someone who had not had yet heard this tour de force could have failed to notice the tongue in my cheek.

  5. Jon says:


    Don’t these ingrates realize how hard it is to grapple a snaggle-toothed muskie and a keyboard at the same time?

  6. Cathy_of_Alex says:

    I don’t know, Jon, it sounds like you could be confusing Father Z with
    Fr. Hamilton over at Catholic Ragemonkey. ;-)

    I’ve been reading WDTPRS for a while and it seems to me
    that Father Z may be more likely to light up that Padron 1926 with one hand
    and type with the other! All the while keeping a close eye on that
    pot of homemade besciamella. Multi-tasking at it’s finest.

    I enjoy the Augustine.

  7. Jon Jon Jon… muskies don’t have snaggle teeth. I did have a lot of driving to do today, however.

    And since everyone seems curious about what I am eating these days… tonight: sushi.

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