Tuesday, November 10, 2009


“St. Martin of Tours and St Nicholas of Bari”
by UNKNOWN MASTER, German, c. 1450


Biographical Information about St. Martin of Tours[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours

Readings and Commentary:

Isaiah 61:1-3abcd

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 61:1-3abcd

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. (see 2a) 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
Matthew 25:31-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
`Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
`Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
`Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me."'

Commentary on
Mt 25:31-40

Jesus, in this reading, is telling his disciples what will be judged at the end times, the eschaton. The reading provides a vision of what will be asked of those seeking admittance to the Kingdom of God and how judgment will be passed. This image is used as a teaching tool, to focus those who wish to follow Jesus on loving those who are in need of help: the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the ill, the imprisoned.

CCC: Mt 25:31-46 544, 1033, 1373, 2447, 2831; Mt 25:31-36 2443; Mt 25:31 331, 671, 679, 1038; Mt 25:32 1038; Mt 25:36 1503; Mt 25:40 678, 1397, 1825, 1932, 2449

It is recorded that St. Martin was so graced with the heart of Christ that he washed the feet of beggars and turned away nobility for fear they would lead him to the sin of pride. His example of heroic virtue provides insight into how the Gospel from St. Matthew should be lived. Each of us who call ourselves Christian are given stewardship for the poor and powerless. We are called to serve those we meet and will, on the last day, be judged based upon not just our actions but our hearts.

Therein lies the rub. Our rational minds and informed consciences know what the Gospel calls us to do and to be. We understand that it is our duty to be charitable to the poor, but while our acts of charity may seem outwardly good, what is our heart telling us? Here’s an example of what this means:

There was once a family in a small parish church who heard this very Gospel proclaimed one day. The whole family was at Mass; the husband and wife along with their fourteen year old son. All the years they had been a family the parents had taught their son that he must live the Gospel and be generous to those less fortunate. The parents, who were quite well off, gave generously to the church and to various charities and even sat on some boards. The evening they heard the Gospel preached their son went to a local convenience store on an errand. When he returned he had brought a homeless man who had been begging outside. His parents were quite distraught and explained to the boy that they could not have that man eating with them and that there were shelters and soup kitchens for such people. They kindly had a cab come and take him to a local shelter with a twenty dollar bill for his trouble.

When we feel we are doing what the Gospel calls us to do, let us not look at our actions and feel pride that we were able to help those less fortunate. Rather let us look at our hearts to see if as Jesus commanded and as St. Martin of Tours demonstrated, we find love for those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, or ill.


[1] The picture is “St. Martin of Tours and St Nicholas of Bari” by UNKNOWN MASTER, German, c. 1450
[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.

No comments: