Sunday, November 22, 2009


“St. Columban” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN 


Biographical Information about St. Columban[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Columban

Readings and Commentary:

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
"Your God is King!"

Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
0 ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

Commentary on
Is 52:7-10

At the time of its writing, the Prophet’s intent was to proclaim the joy of the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile to Judah. He sees the event as salvation for the Hebrew people. God leads them back to the land he gave their fathers.
“These verses form the famous poem of the ‘messenger of peace’ who ‘brings good tidings.’ The ideas of the first oracle of this second part of the book (40:1-11) are repeated here very beautifully. The messenger's feet are praised - a symbol of his speed and surefootedness when crossing the mountains, which is where important news comes from (cf. 40:9). His message (v. 7) is described very significantly as involving ‘peace,’ which in Isaiah means safety in Israel after the hardships of exile; ‘good tidings’ or, more literally, ‘news of goodness and well-being,’ that is, genuine material and spiritual prosperity; and "salvation", which is permanent renewal on all levels. The three words read together mean the highest degree of happiness imaginable. The core of this message is the enthronement of God: ‘Your God reigns,’ similar to 40:9: ‘Behold your God.’”[6]
From a greater distance and depth of understanding, we see him announcing the coming of the Messiah and the salvation that comes to the New Jerusalem through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 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 him 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: 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 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 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey,
someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said, "Follow me."
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
He said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."

Commentary on
Lk 9:57-62

This passage from St. Luke’s Gospel gives us three sayings of Jesus about the requirement to place the values of Christian discipleship above all other requirements of life. Proclaiming the Kingdom of God must come before even family obligations.

In the first, “Foxes have dens…” Jesus does not deceive anyone – he lives in poverty, dedicated to his mission.

The second, “Let the dead bury their dead,” is a play on words: let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead. Jesus message is the message of life. This saying was never intended to be taken literally as filial piety is deeply ingrained in Jewish life.

In the third saying: “No one who…looks to what was left behind,” Jesus demands more than Elisha (see
1 Kings 19:19-21). “Plowing for the Kingdom demands sacrifice.” [4]
CCC: Lk 9:58 544
Saint Columban was born in Ireland before the middle of the sixth century. He was well trained in the classics and theology. After entering the monastic life, he went to France and founded many monasteries which he ruled with strict discipline. After being forced into exile, he went to Italy and founded the monastery of Bobbio. He died in 615.

It is important for us to understand how critical these sayings of Jesus are to what in modern times we call the propagation of the faith. If Jesus and the Apostles had not been willing to give up homes and families to bring the Gospel to all peoples of all nations, the Word of God would never have accomplished what God intended. Throughout the history of God’s revelation to mankind, the Lord has called on individuals to give up their comfort, give up homes and easy lives to take an encounter with God to the corners of the world. Such was the call of the Saint we memorialize today, St. Columban.

St. Columban first gave up the world because he felt that it distracted him from his call to serve Christ. He then gave up even monastic life to take the Word of God to other parts of the world. The rest of his life saw him moving from place to place, always building up the kingdom of God and establishing places of faith and service.

We see in this great Saint the familiar call extended to some of the Lord’s favorite instruments: the call to turn away from the comforts of home and to take the more difficult path of evangelization. Today we ask for his prayers. May St. Columban pray that we might also have a share in his fidelity to the Gospel and hear the call of the Lord more clearly, responding in generosity of spirit.


[1] The picture is “St. Columban” 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 
[4] See Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, Inc., © 1968, 44:97. 
[5] Liturgy of the Hours, Catholic Book Publishing Corp, © 1975, Vol. 4, pp.1581
[6] The Navarre Bible: “Major Prophets”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 231

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