Saturday, January 24 ~ Second Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Patron Saint of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus
Holy Gospel: Mark 3:20-21 Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Meditation: Is the Lord Jesus honored in your home? Why would Jesus’ relatives be so upset with him when he began his public ministry? On one occasion Jesus remarked that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:36). The Gospel of Mark records the reaction of Jesus’ relatives when he went home: they came to seize him. They, no doubt, thought that Jesus must have gone mad or become a religious fanatic. How could a good home-body from Nazareth leave his father’s carpentry trade and go off to become an itinerant preacher? Jesus had thrown away the security and safety of a quiet and respectable life close to his family and relatives. He, undoubtedly, expected opposition from the Jewish authorities. The hardest opposition, however, may come from someone close to us, even your own kin. Jesus met opposition with grace and with determination to fulfill his Father’s will. Are you ready to obey and follow the Lord even if others oppose your doing so?
Prayer: O God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of your charity in the service of our neighbor. 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: The Gospel, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and so many saints all tell us that talk is cheap – that love ought to show itself more in deeds than in words, that we ought to focus more on acting like Catholics and Christians by loving one another than by going around simply talking about being a Catholic Christian. Part of today’s message is about not being a hypocrite, which begs the question — have you co-opted this directive for your own devices, using it as a reason to rarely talk about being a Catholic Christian. Why ask this? Because of what happened to Jesus and his followers in today’s gospel passage. After beginning his ministry, he returns home where his friends and relatives reject him and think he is crazy. What do you choose to do or not do in order to be “accepted” by others? Do you shortchange your faith in order to be part of the crowd?
About Saint Francis de Sales: Francis was born on August 21, 1567, and ordained to the priesthood in 1593. From 1594 to 1598 he labored at the difficult and dangerous task of preaching to the Protestants of Chablais and effected the return of some 70,000 souls to the Catholic faith. In 1602 he became bishop of Genf. His zeal for souls is attested in 21,000 extant letters and 4,000 sermons which exemplify how he applied St. Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” You may epitomize his character in two words, kindliness and lovableness — virtues that were the secret of his success. His writings reflect his kindheartedness and sweet disposition. Most widely known is the saint’s Introduction to the Devout Life, which, with the Imitation of Christ, is rightly considered the finest outline of Christian perfection. Francis’ Introduction proves to the world that true piety makes persons amiable, lovable and happy.
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 the Catholic Culture web site.