Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, P.D. (13th June, 2016) on the Gospel and the memorial
(Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time (II))

1Kg 21:1-16;
Ps 5:2-3.5-7. (R. v.2);
Matt 5:38-42.

Saint Anthony of Padua was born Fernando Martins into a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195. At the age of fifteen, he was sent to the Abbey of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, the then capital of Portugal where he learned theology and Latin, and was ordained a priest. He later joined the Franciscan Order and changed his name to Anthony. Saint Francis of Assisi saw in him a friend and entrusted his friars' pursuits of studies to him in 1224. His teaching was simple and resounding. He died at the age of 36 on June 13, 1231, at Padua and was canonized less than a year afterwards by Pope Gregory IX. Pope Pius XII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1946. He is commonly referred to as the “finder of lost articles.”[1]

Topic: It is as it was.

It is a common belief that the old law was, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (cf. Ex. 21:24-25). In today’s gospel Jesus gave us “new” law,

Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Strikingly, this law is not a new one because the Old Testament also has these, “You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev 19:18). Why did He say this? God said, “Vengeance is mine, and recompense...” (Deut 32:35). And God has set a day of vengeance, cf. Is 34:8.

It must be the stubbornness of the people that mutilated God’s message, cf. Matt 19:8. Saint Paul rightly admonished us, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (Rom 12:19). Saint Anthony lived this out. When a novice who left the hermitage with his valuable book returned, he was welcomed. We are certain of Him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people” (Heb 10:30). Let us leave everything to God as He commanded us from the beginning.

Bible Reading: Rom 12:9-21.

Thought for today: Overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21b).

Let us pray: Lord, strengthen us to remain your children even in the face of all difficulties – Amen.

Saint Anthony of Padua – Pray for us.

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