Saturday, April 5, 2008

APRIL 5 SAINT VINCENT FERRER

“Saint Vincenzo Ferreri”
by Giovannit Bellini, 1464-1468
APRIL 5

SAINT VINCENT FERRER, PRIEST

Additional Information about St. Vincent Ferrer [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Vincent Ferrer

Readings and Commentary: [2]

Reading 1
 
2 Timothy 4:1-5
 
Beloved: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.
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Commentary on 2 Tm 4:1-5

St. Paul, in this passage exhorts Timothy to “fulfill your ministry” as herald of Jesus Christ, the Word. He tells his apprentice to tirelessly teach the truth because the people he hopes to win to the faith will chose an easier path “…following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”

CCC: 2 Tm 4 2015; 2 Tm 4:1 679
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Responsorial Psalm
 
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10, 11
 
R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I have waited, waited for the Lord,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness
and your truth in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
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Psalm 40 is a hymn of thanksgiving. In the strophes supplied for this memorial the psalmist praises those who faithfully hear the word of God (“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me”) and announce the Good News to others.

CCC: Ps 40:2 2657; Ps 40:7-9 LXX 462; Ps 40:7 2824
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Gospel
Luke 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come."
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Commentary on Lk 12:35-40

The selection presented from St. Luke’s Gospel is one of a series that relates specifically to the Lord’s exhortation about the end times, the eschaton. Here he reminds his disciples that they must be constantly focused on God’s work (servants of the master – the one God). We see also in this brief reading an echo of the Last Supper as the master reclines at table. However, in the broader context, the lesson relates more to faithfulness.

The idea of placing constant faithfulness first (most importantly present) is given as the moral of the Lord’s parable.  Peter questions whether the parable is meant for everyone or just for the disciples he is addressing.  The Lord then clarifies that any who would inherit the Kingdom of God must be constantly faithful to the Lord’s precepts.  He goes on to conclude that no one may know the day or the hour that they will be called to account.  Finally he tells the disciples, who have been given much in their association with the Christ, that to those which much is given, even more is expected, essentially telling them that they must be examples to everyone, even each other.

CCC: Lk 12:35-40 2849
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Reflection:

In memorializing St. Vincent Ferrer the Church recalls one of its own who served during one of the most difficult times in her history. St. Vincent, the great Dominican preacher sought to heal the schism in the Church which saw a Pope in Rome (Gregory XII) and what was known as an Anti-pope (Benedict XIII) ruling in Avignon.

Through out this troubled time, St. Vincent, a scholar gifted with tremendous oratory skill, continued to proclaim the Good News faithfully. His genuine love of the Lord was displayed in his lifestyle which was both acetic and humble. In spite of his fame as a preacher, he traveled without pomp throughout Europe, converting many to Christianity including many notables and even a Rabbi.

The scripture we are given to commemorate his service to Christ and the Church speaks of zeal for the word of God and constant vigilance; constantly being mindful of the need to repent and be prepared for the final judgment. These themes were the topic of much of St. Vincent’s preaching and are topics most appropriate still.

If we are to follow St. Vincent’s example of service, we too must rise above any petty differences within our own faith communities. After all, St. Vincent kept his eyes firmly on the Lord in spite horrendous ecclesial strife. Our constant aim must be for Christ to be first and foremost in our lives. St. Paul said as much to St. Timothy in the first reading and the Lord told all of his disciples that their constant vigilance would be required.

What is asked is not an easy thing. Life’s worries, injustices, and even joys seek to distract us from the prize the Lord offers. Our prayer on this day must be that we are given the strength of purpose displayed so nobly by St. Vincent so we too may find at last a home with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

Pax

Please Pray for Esther.

[1] The picture used is “Saint Vincenzo Ferreri” by Giovannit Bellini, 1464-1468
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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