Saturday, June 13, 2009


“The Vision
of St Anthony of Padua”
by Vicente Carducho,1631


Biographical Information about St. Anthony of Padua [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua

Readings and Commentary:

Isaiah 61:1-3d

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,
to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
To announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God,
to comfort all who mourn;
To place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.
Commentary on
Is 61:1-3d

The prophetic vision from Isaiah begins with words used by Jesus himself in
Luke 4: 18-19. In the day it was first used it was inspired by the return of faithful from the Babylonian exile. It envisions the coming of the messianic age, foreseeing the saving work of the Messiah (“…glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners”).

CCC: Is 61:1-2 714; Is 61:1 436, 695, 716, 1286
Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 and 27

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

"I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations."
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong."
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

"My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted. He shall say of me,
'You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior."'
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Commentary on
Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 21-22, 25 and 27

Psalm 89, taken as a whole, is a communal lament. This selection rejoices in God’s establishment of the Davidic Dynasty and the promise of heavenly support for his kingdom.

CCC: Ps 89 709
Luke 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
`Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you."'
Commentary on Luke 10:1-9

It is only in the Gospel of St. Luke that we hear the story of Jesus sending the seventy (two). This event is supported by other non-biblical writings (see Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 265-c. 340) Church History, Book. 1). The instructions given to those sent out are very similar to the instructions given to the Twelve, as was the message they were sent to proclaim.

This selection emphasizes Jesus' early struggle to accomplish what he came to do by himself. We sense the humanness as he says: "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few." We also find this event and statement in St. Matthew’s Gospel where instead of the 72 he names the 12 (Matthew 10:1-8). While in St. Matthew’s story Jesus sends them first to the Hebrew people, St. Luke makes no such distinction.

This effort by Jesus was modeled on Moses’ leadership structure in which 70 elders were appointed (Numbers 11:24-25). It is also possible that the reference number 70 relates to the number of nations mentioned in Genesis 10. The disciples were sent two by two, a custom that would be replicated later in the post-resurrection missionary activities of the Church (see Acts 8:14; 15:39-40).

In another historical similarity, the disciples were sent without possessions, presumably depending upon the traditionally required hospitality for their support. Similar instructions were given by the Prophet Elisha as he sent his servant in 2 Kings 4:29.

The Lord’s instructions concerning this hospitality “…laborer deserves payment” is also quoted in St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:18b) and has further support in 1 Corinthians 9:7, 14. Those who labor on behalf of the Gospel and cannot take time to support themselves deserve the support of the community. In a final twist, the Lord’s instruction to “…eat what is set before you” sets aside Mosaic dietary laws (also 1 Corinthians 10:27 and Acts 10:25). It is a clear indication that the scope of their mission is to call all peoples to the Gospel.

CCC: Lk 10:1-2 765; Lk 10:2 2611; Lk 10:7 2122

St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most known and beloved of the saints. He is held by tradition as the patron of lost articles and is venerated widely. He began his life in Portugal being called away from his family’s wishes that he assume his noble birthright to become a servant of God. He initially took up the habit of the Augustinians but when he saw the faith and dedication of five of his Franciscan countrymen martyred in Morocco he joined that order, determined to go also to Morocco to preach the word.

Circumstances, however, laid another path before him. He was shipwrecked in Sicily and became renowned for his spirituality and preaching. He spread the Gospel with zeal, focusing on the Franciscan ideal of preaching the Word always and using words when necessary. In this mission he followed the Gospel used on his feast day. Like the Apostles, he was sent into the world as a blessing and a hope. Also like the Lord, he challenged those who grew too comfortable in their own piety.

As we recall his example today, let us conclude with one of St. Anthony’s own prayer, one in which we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to walk, as he attempted to do, in the Lord’s footsteps.

“O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive,
into my mind that I may remember,
and into my soul that I may meditate.

Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy.
Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end.

May your grace ever help and correct me,
and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high,
for the sake of your infinite mercy.


-St. Anthony’s Prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit


[1] The picture is “The Vision of St Anthony of Padua” by Vicente Carducho,1631
[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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