Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Paul Miki, P. & Companions, Mm., (06th February, 2020) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time (II))
1Chron 29:10-12 (R. v.12);
Saint Paul Miki was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was educated by Jesuits, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. Among the Japanese laymen who suffered the same fate were: Francis, a carpenter; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan's porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners; Cosmas Takeya; and Ventura, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862.
Topic: Do your part.
In today’s gospel Jesus sent the twelve out in pairs with the authority over the unclean spirits. He “ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics” (Mk 6:8-9). They should stay in any house where they are welcomed until they leave the place and should shake off the dust on their feet while leaving the place where they are not welcomed. The twelve went and proclaimed repentance, cast out many demons, and anointed many who were sick and cured them.
Looking at Jesus’ instruction to the twelve it looks as if God was about to repeat what He did during the Israelites’ journey to the promised land; they spent forty years in the wilderness yet their clothes did not worn out, and their sandals did not worn off their feet; cf. Deut 29:5. He also provided bread, meat, and water for them all through their journey, cf. Ex 15:23-25; 16:4, 10-15, 21, 35; 17:2-6. Otherwise, how could they survive in the mission?
Today’s gospel has two parallels; Matt 10:5-11 and Lk 9:1-6. And in Matthew chapter 10 verse 10 there is a clue to how Jesus wanted them to survive; labourers deserve their food. One might again ask who was to provide the food. In the gospel according to Saint Luke Jesus sheds more light to this, “Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid.... eat what is set before you” (Lk 10:7,8).
Make sure you provide for your ministers. If ministers of God leave their work in search of bread, bag, money, tunics and so on surely they will find them but not without inflicting serious injuries to the souls they are to take care off. Simply put, souls will be lost. However, fellow servants ought to remember Pauline maxim, “If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (2Thess 3:10).
Each and every one of us has his or her part to play for the spreading of the gospel. And for a healthy spreading of the gospel everyone must fulfil his or her part because anyone’s failure will certainly affect the ministry negatively. For instance, Saint Paul Miki and twenty-five others were crucified because those in the corridors of power did not do what they ought to do.
Bible Reading: 2Thess 3:6-15.
Thought for today: You have a role in the spreading of the gospel.
Let us pray: Lord, help us do our parts in your vineyard so that the gospel will continue to spread to the ends of the earth – Amen.
Saint Paul Miki and Companions – Pray for us.
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