Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, P., (23rd September, 2020) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Prov 30:5-9; Ps 118: (R. v. 105); Lk 9:1-6
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina also known as Saint Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina, Italy on 25th May, 1887 as Francesco Forgione. His parents were both very religious and also very poor. As a result of this, he took up a job which affected his studies negatively. He took the name Pius (Pio) when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Saint Pio was ordained in 1910 and was allowed to remain at home because of his poor health. He received the gift of stigmata on September 20, 1916 while hearing confessions. Saint Pio was known for his piety, charity and the quality of his preaching. He prophesied in 1947 that Fr. Karol Wojtyla who visited him would become a pope which fulfilled in 1978. He died in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy on 23rd September, 1968. Pope Saint John Paul II beatified him in 1999 and also canonized him on 16th June, 2002. He is the patron saint of civil defence volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina.
Topic: Call to duty.
In today’s gospel Jesus sent the twelve out with the authority over the unclean spirits. He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic” (Lk 9:3). 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 preached the good news and also cured the diseased.
Considering Jesus’ instruction to the twelve it looks as if God was about to repeat what He did during the Israelites’ journey to the promise 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 a parallel passage, there is a clue to how Jesus wanted them to survive: labourers deserve their food (Matt 10:10). And in Luke, Jesus sheds more light, “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).
Jesus is telling us in today’s gospel that we all have our respective tasks with regard to the spreading of the gospel. The faithful is to provide for their ministers. If ministers of God leave their work in search of bread, bag, money, tunics and so on surely they will find these but not without inflicting serious injuries to the souls they are to pasture. Simply put, souls will be lost. And dearest ministers of God remember the Pauline maxim, “If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (2Thess 3:10). May we imitate Saint Pio of Pietrelcina who worked assiduously and now in heaven.
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 to do our parts in your vineyard – Amen.
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina – Pray for us.
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