Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, Rel., (4th October, 2016) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Gal 1:13-24;Ps 138:1-3.13-15. (R. v.24);
Saint Francis was born at Assisi in 1181. His mother christened him Giovanni after John the Baptist but his father renamed him Francesco because he never wanted any man of God in his son. He enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father's wealth and the permissiveness of the times. Francis led a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. He saw the call for knights for the Fourth Crusade as an opportunity to earn glory. However, he gave his suit of armour decorated with gold to a poor knight and obeyed God’s call to return home. He started to spend more time in prayer and Christ asked him to repair His Church that scandal and avarice were working on from the inside while outside heresies flourished while he was praying in the ancient church at San Damiano. He was ordained only a deacon under his protest. He preached about returning to God and obedience to the Church. Slowly companions came to him. He loved all God's creations and also preached to all. He tried to make poverty holy and saw possessions as the death of love. Francis' final years were filled with suffering as well as humiliation. He received the stigmata. He died on 4th October, 1226. Francis is considered the founder of all Franciscan orders and the patron saint of ecologists and merchants.
Topic: Mission to all.
Jesus visited Martha and Mary. While Mary sat at His feet listening to Him, Martha was busy with many tasks. Martha even pleaded with Jesus to intervene. But Jesus answered her in part, “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Many often see Jesus’ response as an outright condemnation of Martha. Martha was busy putting things in place to receive Jesus. Again, Jesus neither asked her to stop nor said that she was wrong. He only said, “Mary has chosen the better part....” It seems that Saint Paul’s teaching on celibacy is rooted here. Although he praised celibacy, but he did not condemn marriage, cf. 1Cor 7:38.
God wants us to be Christians wherever we are – in the church, in the kitchen, in the market, and so on. However, Saint Paul wrote, “...faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom 10:17). Mary’s part is to be seen in Martha’s. And Martha’s is useless if it is not informed by Mary’s. Saint Francis of Assisi lived exemplary. He loved and preached to all creatures including the birds and wild wolf. We must take the gospel of Christ to all creatures.
Bible Reading: Ps 150:1-6.
Thought for today: You belong to God.
Let us pray: Lord, give us the grace to be your witnesses to all creatures – Amen.
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