Thursday, June 4, 2009


“St. Boniface”
from Butlers Lives of Saints,
artist and date not cited


Biographical Information about St. Boniface [1]

Readings for the Memorial of Saint Boniface

Readings and Commentary:

Acts 26:19-23

Paul said:
"King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
On the contrary, first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem
and throughout the whole country of Judea,
and then to the Gentiles,
I preached the need to repent and turn to God,
and to do works giving evidence of repentance.
That is why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple
and tried to kill me.
But I have enjoyed God's help to this very day,
and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike,
saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold,
that the Messiah must suffer and that,
as the first to rise from the dead,
he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
Commentary on
Acts 26:19-23

This chapter describes St Paul’s final defense before King Agrippa, having been handed over to him by the Sanhedrin. In this defense he portrays himself as a Pharisee of which, he claims, Christianity is a logical continuation. The Apostle contends that proclamation of Jesus, the Messiah is the source of the disagreement with the Jewish leadership. His contention that the proclamation of Jesus was in effect the fulfillment of the Law of Moses (see also
Luke 18:31).

CCC: Acts 26:22-23 601; Acts 27:23-25 334
Psalm 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia.
Commentary on
Ps 117:1bc, 2

“This shortest of hymns calls on the nations to acknowledge God's supremacy. The supremacy of Israel's God has been demonstrated to them by the people's secure existence, which is owed entirely to God's gracious fidelity.” [3] Using a refrain from St. Mark’s Gospel, the psalm is one of praise for the Good News of God’s salvation.

John 10:11-16

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A 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 find 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

On the Memorial of St. Boniface we proclaim St. John’s Gospel of Christ, the Good Shepherd. St. Boniface, being the evangelist that he was, would certainly have taken that image to the pagans he was noted for converting. His was a direct approach. He was fearless in confronting superstitions and false beliefs about the Lord. Much like St. Paul, when he entered an area he took the beliefs that were already there and molded them, changed them so that when he left those familiar traditions were now related to Christ.

Like a Shepherd he attacked dangers to the flock. When he encountered threats to the fundamental tenets of the faith, he attacked them and, like the many pagan idols he encountered on his journeys through the Germanic regions, destroyed them.

He provides us with an example of steadfast faith in the face of tremendous resistance. His love of Christ and of others reminds us that to shrink from proclaiming Christ to those who do not know him is like withholding life from one who is on a course to destruction. Like him, we pledge to strive for “be one flock, one shepherd."


[1] The picture is “St. Boniface” from Butlers Lives of Saints, artist and date not cited, @ Harmony Media, Inc., Salem, Oregon
[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.
[3] See NAB footnote on Psalm 117

1 comment:

pascale said...

Hey you might be interested in a book which discusses a lot of these ideas

There is a synopsis of the book there too explaining that the author deals with the Jewish tradition that Agrippa was the ‘real Messiah.’