Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint John Bosco, P., (31st January, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 23:1-6. (R. cf. v. 6);
Saint John Bosco, also known as Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco and Don Bosco (16th August, 1815 – 31st January, 1888) was born in Becchi, Italy. He lost his father at the age of two, leaving him and his two older brothers to be raised by his mother, Margherita. John was very devout. He later discerned the call to become a priest which requires education, something he lacked because of poverty. He was only 12 when he left home and laboured for two years in a vineyard before he met Jospeh Cafasso, a priest who helped him. He entered the seminary in 1835 and was ordained a priest in 1841. The large number of boys, between the ages of 12 and 18 he saw in deplorable conditions in the prison moved him to do more to help other boys from ending up there. He went into the streets and started to meet young men and boys where they worked and played. He used his talents as a performer, doing tricks to capture attention, then sharing with the children his message for the day. Fr Bosco worked tirelessly seeking work for boys who needed it, and lodgings for others. He fought for the rights for boys who were employed as apprentices and also encouraged those he thought would make good priests to consider a vocation to the priesthood. He established the Society of St. Francis de Sales in 1859 to carry on his charitable work, helping boys with their faith formation and to stay out of trouble. The call for his canonization came immediately after his death. Pope Pius XI declared him a blessed on 2nd June, 1929 and also canonized him on 1st April, 1934 (Easter Sunday). He was given the title, “Father and Teacher of Youth.” Saint John Bosco is the patron saint of apprentices, editors and publishers, schoolchildren, magicians, and juvenile delinquents.
Topic: The lamp.
Jesus teaches us in today’s gospel that His teachings are not meant to be hidden. Using the allegory of a lamp, they are to be placed on the lamp-stand for others to see. He goes on to say that the standard one uses for others will be used for him/her and even more. More will be given to the person who knows that he/she has because nobody is empty-handed, cf. 1Cor 12:7-11.
We celebrate Saint John Bosco today because he did not hide the lamp. He placed it on the stand for all to see especially the youths. He touched and is still touching many aspects of human existence. It is important to note that it was not rosy for him. He had his challenges.
God expects all of us in various ways we can to help others see the light of the gospel. He expects us to do to others exactly what and how we want others to do to us, cf. Matt 7:12; Lk 6:31. Our duty is to take the lamp, place it on the stand for others and using the right standard for others.
Bible Reading: 2Tim 4:1-8.
Thought for today: Use the measure you would like to be measured with for others.
Let us pray: God help us place the light of the gospel on the stand for others to see through Christ – Amen.
Saint John Bosco – Pray for us.
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