Saints for the day:
Galatians 5:1-6 – Psalm 119 – Luke 11:37-41
“The Lord chose these for himself as high priest, and opening his treasure house, made them rich in all good things.” (Today’s Entrance Antiphon.)
In today’s Liturgy the Church is giving us two contemporary saints to guide us on our journey following Jesus. In many way these two men are very different in the way they chose to follow the Lord. One chose the isolated missions serving the Leper colonies in Hawaii; the other was chosen for a very public ministry of leading the entire Roman Catholic Church. The common strain, though, can be the above quoted words of today’s Entrance Antiphon. The key words being “the Lord chose these for himself…” If we look at almost any of the saints of our Church, the common factor has got to be found in the above quoted words, “the LORD chose these…” Any of us can seek to be saints but only those found chosen by the Lard get the official title. That’s what keeps most of us honest even as we still strive to follow Jesus as best as we can. I can still almost hear Pope John speaking after he was officially made the pope: “Look at the way they’ve dressed me up.” And those words spoke loudly about the way he entered into the duties of being Pope. Today’s Holy Gospel has Jesus coming down hard on the Scribes and Pharisees who were so caught up in making sure that every jot and title of the Law was followed precisely. Yet this is exactly where Jesus caught them “straining the gnat and swallowing the fly. In the case of both of today’s “saints,” we can see how their “alms giving” led them to great heights of service. That seems to be the way to holiness: being willing to “bloom where you are planted.” St. Damian did this with the lepers in Hawaii; Pope John did this for the Church of Rome. Neither of them would have had this as their goal when they were young but they were still able to “do something wonderful for God” because they were willing to follow His lead when they were young. Today’s two saints are good examples for us to follow. Amen.