Tuesday, April 27, 2010


“Saint Peter Chanel”
Artist and Date are


Biographical Information about St. Peter Chanel [1]

Readings for the Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel

Readings and Commentary:

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Commentary on
1 Cor 1:18-25

St. Paul begins this selection refuting those who point to Christ’s crucifixion as proof of Jesus’ fallibility by saying that faith, graciously given by God allows the Christian to see the victory in what appears to the scoffers to be a defeat (“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”) St. Paul supports his premise by quoting
Isaiah 29:14 attacking the “wisdom of the wise”. He calls Jesus a stumbling block for the Jews (probably because they expected a Royal Messiah taking power like King David) and again foolishness for the rational gentiles (Greeks) who pride themselves in logic – the cross is not logical for a savior.

St. Paul concludes by telling the community “those who were called”, that it is God who acts in them giving them faith (see also
Romans 9:16) and that in the face of God’s omnipotence all the wisdom and strength of humanity pales in comparison.

CCC: 1 Cor 1:18 268; 1 Cor 1:24-25 272
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.


Mark 1:14-20

After John the Baptist had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
Commentary on
Mk 1:14-20

As it is in St. Mark’s account, it is noteworthy to observe that all of the Gospels show Jesus not beginning his public ministry until after the active ministry of St. John the Baptist has ended. The “Voice” decreases while the “Word” increases. We see the charismatic power of the Lord in the call of the first disciples in this passage. They come to him without inducement beyond his simple invitation to follow him. It is also notable that three of these first four, Simon, James, and John, develop the closest relationships with the Lord of all the disciples.

CCC: Mk 1:15 541, 1423, 1427; Mk 1:16-20 787

St Peter Chanel (1803 - 1841)

St. Peter Chanel gave his life to follow God’s call to him; following in the footsteps of the first Apostles whose story of being called is found in St. Mark’s Gospel. While they did not know it at the time, St. Peter (the Apostle), St. James and St. John (Zebedee’s sons) were destined to follow their Lord in death for proclaiming the truth just as the Lord had done before them.

St. Peter Chanel, like those first Apostles, took the Gospel where it had never been before. In an island nation of the Pacific, Oceana, he brought the name of Jesus and offered the people salvation through that Holy Name. Chronicles of his life during his missionary period speak of a man completely dominated by and sustained by the Holy Spirit. We are told he suffered both privation and burning heat without complaint and was devoted to the people he served as Christ’s emissary.

As with those first Apostles, the powerful often despise the Good News of Christ. In the case of St. Peter Chanel, this was also true and even though his work was never intended to threaten the powerful, those who embraced the false power of violence took the saint’s life. They never suspected that his work had already been accomplished and that what they thought was cruel sport, was in effect St. Peter’s reward for a life spent in God’s service. It ushered him into the Heavenly Kingdom and it is there we ask for his prayers. May we never be daunted in our efforts to make the Word of God known to all we meet.


[1] The picture is “Saint Peter Chanel” 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 117

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