Thursday, April 23, 2009


 “St. Adalbert”
artist and date


Readings for the Memorial of St. Adalbert

Biographical Information about St. Adalbert [1]

Readings and Commentary:

2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
In everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

Commentary on
2 Cor 6:4-10

St. Paul’s main message in this passage is to encourage those of the faith to remain steadfast as he and his companions have done. He describes nine different trials they have encountered (“afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts”) and provides a litany of seven contrasting negative external perceptions with positive internal spiritual realities.

CCC: 2 Cor 6:4 859
Psalm 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17

R. (6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake you will lead and guide me.

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me,
O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors,
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. 
Commentary on Ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17

This is an individual lament. The section links nicely to the death of martyrs with “Into your hands I commend my spirit” and “You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plottings of men.” The psalmist gives us a song of faith very appropriate for those who are put to the test for their faith. It is a prayer for rescue and a submission of will to God's saving power.

John 10:11-16

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd."

Commentary on
Jn 10:11-16

We come to the climax of Jesus' debates with the Jewish leadership. He is in the temple precincts now. He came there at a time when many of those from all over the region would be there, the Feast of Hanukkah. Here he contrasts himself (the Good Shepherd) with false shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:1-16), presumably the Pharisees who fail to recognize him. Using the analogy of the sheepfold, he reminds the listener that all manner of people may enter a sheepfold. Those “false shepherds” scatter the sheep and they fall to utter ruin. But only the rightful owner will be recognized by the sheep and bring safety (salvation). The passage concludes with the universal statement of unity: “…there will be one flock, one shepherd."

CCC: Jn 10:11-15 754; Jn 10:11 553, 754; Jn 10:16 60

We remember St. Adalbert, Bishop and Martyer. That this heroic figure was killed while evangelizing a pagan territory is admirable. However, the Gospel focuses our attention on another aspect of his great legacy, his leadership in faith. His example of fidelity and love of God made him an excellent shepherd of the flock. He constantly exemplified the best practices of a disciple of Christ. He selflessly proclaimed the Gospel. He courageously took the word of God where it had not been, and in doing so gave up his earthly life for his faith.

We look at the life and deeds of St. Adalbert and those like him, and it is easy for us to see virtue and be inspired by it. It is not as easy to see those we should follow in our daily lives. Those in authority are not always upright or acting in the best interests of the whole. Rather it is common to see leaders who work toward their own self-interests.

As Christians, we are called to evaluate the leaders we follow. Just because they are in authority does not mean their goals and objectives are noble, or their actions are intended to accomplish ends that would be pleasing to God. In cases were we can see these motives in our leaders, whether they be political leaders, civic leaders or business leaders, we are called to stand up for the greater good, make our objections known, and not cooperate with ends that compromise our faith and moral core.

St. Adalbert was such a person. He gained the enmity of the political leaders of his day by speaking out against injustice. He was exiled more than once by hate-filled leaders. In the face of all of these trials he stood fast, clinging to the faith. It is this fidelity that we celebrate and his steadfastness that we admire and try to emulate. Like the first “Good Shepherd” we pray for all Bishops that they might courageously stand against injustice, greed, and malice toward life and provide an example we all see and recognized as our Shepherd.


[1] The picture used is “St. Adalbert”, artist and date UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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