Friday, December 02, 2016
Saturday, 1st Week of Advent
03 December 2016
Saturday, 1st Week of Advent
St. Francis Xavier, Priest and Principal Patron of All Missions
Zep 3: 9 – 10, 14 – 20 / Mt 28: 16 – 20
St. Francis Xavier (1506 – 1552), Spaniard and among the first companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola and among the founding fathers of the Society of Jesus, labored as a missionary in India and Japan for ten years before his death on an island while longing to go to China.
1st Reading: Zep 3: 9 – 10, 14 – 20
At that time I will give truthful lips to the pagan nations that all of them may call on the name of Yahweh and serve him with the same zeal. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia they will bring offerings to me. . . .
Cry out with joy, O daughter of Zion; rejoice, O people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Yahweh has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. Yahweh, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for Yahweh your God is with you. Yahweh, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for he has revived his love. For you he will cry with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.
I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be shamed. On that day I will face your oppressors; I will save the lame sheep and bring the lost back into the fold. I will give them renown and honor in all the lands where humiliation was your lot.
On that day I will be good to you and gather you to make you famous and honorable among all the peoples of the earth, when I will bring back the captives before your eyes, -- this is Yahweh's word.
Gospel Reading: Mt 28: 16 – 20
As for the Eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before him, although some doubted. Then Jesus approached them and said, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to fulfill all that I have commanded you. I am with you always until the end of the world."
We celebrate today the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle to the Indies and Patron of All Missions. Francis is recognized as a most remarkable priest and missionary, fired with love and enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and the spread of this knowledge to all people.
While a student with St. Ignatius of Loyola at the University of Paris, the question and persistence of Ignatius profoundly challenged and changed him, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul?"
Because of his unwavering zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and his heroic labors for the greater glory of God in India and Southeast Asia and in Japan, the Church has declared him Patron of All Missions.
Francis Xavier was indeed inspired by the love of God and wanted to share with other people the knowledge and love of God. This missionary spirit empowered him to set out for a huge continent whose diversity of peoples, culture and languages was so foreign to him. He rejoiced in sufferings and afflictions in his preaching of the Good News.
What drives individuals whom we call "Saints" like the Apostle Paul and Francis Xavier to give up everything in the pursuit of their mission to proclaim the Gospel? It is primarily their love for God and for humanity that kept them going and committing their lives for the greater glory of God and his Kingdom.
This is the great mission which the risen Christ gives to the whole Church, to go to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all of creation. All believers and followers of Christ have been given a share in this mission, to be heralds of the Good News and ambassadors for Christ. We should heed and be encouraged by the challenge of the Apostle Paul, "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel. We are never alone in this task, for the risen Lord continues to work in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In his message for the 45th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, "The Church is missionary as a whole and in each one of its members; because of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, every Christian is called to witness and to announce the Gospel, the gospel of love." Such being the case, we should not be afraid but should be open to Christ who invites each and everyone of us to be like the Apostle Paul and the great missionary Francis Xavier living witnesses of Jesus.
As we honor St. Francis Xavier, Patron of All Missions and a great apostle of evangelization, we should ask him to obtain for us the grace that we may continue in his footsteps of preaching the Good News to the whole world by the example of our Christian living that God's Good News may be preached to the utmost limits of the earth and find its way to every human heart.
May the marching order and challenge of Ignatius of Loyola to Francis Xavier as he sent him off the unknown Indies ignite our hearts to be missionaries in our modern world, "Go, set all on fire!"
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
Leonida G. Casiano
Armando A. Deguzman
Have a good day!
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