Friday, May 15 ~ Sixth Week in the Season of Easter
Saint Isidore the Farmer
Holy Gospel: John 16:20-23 Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
Meditation: Why does Jesus tell his disciples to weep and mourn? Jesus was neither a pessimist nor a masochist, and he was certainly more than a realist! The way to happiness and joy in the kingdom of God is through the cross. Sin must be brought to the cross of Jesus Christ and evil can only be completely mastered by the power of God’s redeeming love. Jesus told his disciples that it was more blessed to mourn for sin because it would yield the fruit of peace, joy, and righteousness. Jesus knew that the cross would be a stumbling block for those who refused to believe in him. The cross for Jesus was not defeat but victory – victory over sin, over the forces of evil in the world, and over the devil – the arch-enemy of God and humankind.
Prayer: Lord God, to whom belongs all creation, and who call us to serve you by caring for the gifts that surround us, inspire us by the example of Saint Isidore to share our food with the hungry and to work for the salvation of all people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: We must remember that through his death on the cross, Jesus won for us new life and freedom over the power of sin, despair, and death. The Easter victory of Jesus teaches us courage in the face of suffering and death. In the resurrection of Christ our fears are laid to rest. His resurrection is total, final triumph, and for us peace and joy at the end. We will have troubles in the present reality. Through the eyes of faith, we know the final outcome – complete victory over sin, suffering, and death in Jesus Christ. That is why we can pray confidently now, knowing that the Father will give us everything we need to live as his children and as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know the Easter joy of Christ’s victory over sin and death?
About Saint Isidore: When he was barely old enough to wield a hoe, Isidore entered the service of John de Vergas, a wealthy landowner from Madrid, and worked faithfully on his estate outside the city for the rest of his life. He married a young woman as simple and upright as himself who also became a saint-Maria de la Cabeza. They had one son, who died as a child. Isidore had deep religious instincts. He rose early in the morning to go to church and spent many a holiday devoutly visiting the churches of Madrid and surrounding areas. All day long, as he walked behind the plow, he communed with God. His devotion, one might say, became a problem, for his fellow workers sometimes complained that he often showed up late because of lingering in church too long. He was known for his love of the poor, and there are accounts of Isidore’s supplying them miraculously with food. He had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals. He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622 with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as “the five saints.” Many implications can be found in a simple laborer achieving sainthood: Physical labor has dignity; sainthood does not stem from status; contemplation does not depend on learning; the simple life is conducive to holiness and happiness. Legends about angel helpers and mysterious oxen indicate that his work was not neglected and his duties did not go unfulfilled. Perhaps the truth which emerges is this: If you have your spiritual self in order, your earthly commitments will fall into order also. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” said the carpenter from Nazareth, “and all these things will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33).
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.