Friday of the Second Week of Easter
ACTS 5:34-42, JN 6:1-15
Today’s readings inspire us with two examples of wisdom: the priest Gamaliel counseling patience in listening to the new message of the apostles and Jesus overturning the limits of generosity in feeding the multitude.
We also celebrate the memory of two French saints who also were models of patient attention and concern for the needs of the poor.
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Monfort (1673-1716) spent the early part of his life’s work as a preacher of missions around the poor areas of France. He had hoped to become a missionary to the colonies in Canada, but was told he was more needed in France to preach against the rigorist attitudes of the Jansenist movement in French Catholicism. Saint Louis gave up his own plans to deal with a different area of poverty; he was wise to listen and see what was close at hand.
Saint Pierre Louis Marie Chanel (1803–1841) too hoped to go to non-Christian lands to preach the Faith, but his bishop did not want to lose him to his diocese. He finally heard of a group that was forming a missionary society and became one of the first members of the Society of Mary (Marists). He led a small group of Marists to the South Pacific. As natives began to join him, the king became upset that his son and the son’s fiancée sought to become Christians. The king sent one of his warriors to “settle the situation” and the man beat Chanel to death with a club. Wisdom led Pierre to generously lose all, in the ultimate act of generosity: death to bring the riches of the Gospel to the poor.
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