Friday, October 9, 2009


“St. John Leonardi’s Vision”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. John Leonardi [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John Leonardi

Readings and Commentary:

2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-7

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things;
not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God,
but by the open declaration of the truth
we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.

But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.

Commentary on
2 Cor 4:1-2, 5-7

St. Paul speaks of his own ministry to the people of Corinth. Using his actions as an example, he makes the case for repentance (“…we have renounced shameful, hidden things”) and against false teachers (“…not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God”). Paul then uses the “light in the darkness” metaphor. He seems to be thinking of
Genesis 1:3 and presenting his apostolic ministry as a new creation. In his final statement he makes it clear that it is for God’s glory in Christ that he proclaims this message and that the messenger himself is the humble “earthen vessel.”

CCC: 2 Cor 4:6 298, 2583; 2 Cor 4:7 1420
Psalm 96:1-2. 2-3, 7-8, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.

R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Commentary on
Ps 96:1-2. 2-3, 7-8, 10

Announce his salvation, day after day.” This song of praise to the Lord invites all humanity to participate in God’s salvation. “This psalm has numerous verbal and thematic contacts with
Isaiah ch. 40-55, as does Psalm 98. Another version of the psalm is 1 Chronicles 16:23-33.” [3]

CCC: Ps 96:2 2143

Luke 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
"Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Simon said in reply,
"Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets."
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that they were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
"Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men."
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

Commentary on
Lk 5:1-11

St. Luke’s Gospel presents the call of St. Peter, St. James, and St. John to discipleship. The Lord has demonstrated his authority through his teaching, and then through the miraculous catch of fish. We note the similarity of this incident with the post-resurrection incident recounted in St. John’s Gospel (John 21:1-11).

At Jesus' summons, Simon and the two sons of Zebedee leave all they have and follow the Lord. No mention is made here of Simon’s (Peter’s) brother Andrew who would also have been there, and in fact, as a disciple of John the Baptist, actually introduced the two (John 1:41 ff). We do hear that James and John, Zebedee’s sons, were also there as Simon’s partners, and are called at the same time.

Simon Peter’s response to the Lord’s call is one of being sinful and therefore unworthy of the presence of the Lord. In response to Simon’s fearful humility, Jesus invites them all to leave what they have and become fishers of men.

CCC: Lk 5:8 208

What do we learn from the call of Sts. Peter, James and John recounted in St. Luke’s Gospel?  Do we learn that the Lord will call us to an easy life of peace and harmony?  No, even at the very beginning of their relationship with the Lord he asks them to do something difficult and seemingly silly.  They had been fishing all night – the time best for such efforts – and caught nothing.  Now he tells them to lower the nets again!  This is not an easy thing.  They have already put their boat in order for the next day’s fishing.  In spite of the difficulty and the apparent illogic of doing as Jesus asks, they comply and are rewarded.

The analogy is not lost on us.  We see in this story a parallel to the call Jesus issues to each of us.  He knows the world we live in.  He knows that the Gospel message he brought was not popular back in his days with us and knows it will not be popular now.  Yet he asks us to collaborate with him.  He asks us, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."

Sometimes even such a direct message must be reinforced.  So the Lord sends us modern examples like St. John Leonardi (1541-1609).  St. John struggled his entire life to follow the Lord.  He felt called to the priesthood but many barriers were placed in his way.  Yet he persisted and at 32 was ordained a priest.  He lived in a time when the Church was undergoing a violent schism as the Reformation era placed pressure on all facets of the Church’s faithful.  He felt called to found a religious order even in those turbulent times and was virtually exiled from his own country, the Republic of Lucca, because it was not wanted.

St. John Leonardi shows us what faith in God and faithful response to God’s call can mean.  So when we like those first disciples of Jesus and like so many saints who have followed encounter resistance either from our own doubts or from outside pressure, let us reach deep to find the strength given by the Holy spirit.  Let us persevere in our efforts to serve in the Lord’s name.  We ask for the intersessions of St. John Leonardi on his feast day to help us as we too put down our nets, proclaiming the Gospel with our lives.


[1] The picture is “St. John Leonardi’s Vision” Artist and Date are 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.
[3] See NAB footnote on Psalm 96

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