Thursday, September 22, 2011



Biographical Information about St. Pio of Pietrelcina [1]

While this memorial is now on the calendar as a feast day, no article has been designated in the Lectionary.  The readings below are suggested by the USCCB (#740, 5 and 742,6) from the Common of Holy Men and Women.

From the Common of Holy Men and Women or

Readings and Commentary: [2]


Brothers and sisters:
Through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
Commentary on Gal 2:19-20

In this selection of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the Apostle contrasts actions that are in accord with the precepts of Mosaic Law against the interior life of faith that justifies us before God in Christ.

"2:20 crucified with Christ: Paul has died to an old order of things, namely, the slavery of sin and the regime of the Old Covenant.  He describes this elsewhere as a sacramental union with Jesus effected through Baptism (Romans 6:3-8). lives in me: Believers posses life that is natural and biological (human life) as well as supernatural and theological (divine life). who loved me: Jesus endured the torture and shame of the Cross for the entire world collectively and for every person individually (CCC 478, 616)" [3]

CCC: Gal 2:20 478, 616, 1380, 2666
From the Ordinary or
Psalm 16:1-2ab and 5, 7-8, 11

R. (see 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, "My Lord are you."
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right band forever.

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Commentary on Ps 16:1-2ab and 5, 7-8, 11

Psalm 16 is an individual song of worship and praise. This selection is structured to support the Pauline ideal of placing God first in the life of the psalmist, their greatest possession being loved by God and loving God in return.



Jesus said to his disciples,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory,
and then he will repay each one according to his conduct."
Commentary on Mt 16:24-27

This is the second time within the Gospel of St. Matthew the Lord instructs the disciples that if they wish to follow him, they must take up the cross (the first time is in Matthew 10:38). This passage focuses the followers of Christ on the idea that serving the Lord must come before any other purposes in life since it is through following Jesus that eternal life is gained. The final verse infers that the reward to the faithful is variable – that to some greater honor is given.


There are very few contemporary saints that exhibit the level of visible favor and support from the Lord that was shown in Padre Pio.  His reputation for modern-day miracles, personal piety, and visible marks of faith (the stigmata) made him a candidate for sainthood even before he passed from this life to the next. 

Saints whose virtues include mystic signs are important to the Church and to us. The give us living proof that science cannot explain everything, that there are still unknowns that can only be explained and achieved by faith. As it was with Padre Pio, the children of Fatima, and at Lourdes, popular inspiration calls the world’s attention to these visible signs of God’s direct presence through his instruments. 

As we see in most of these cases, were it not for the fact that others see God’s hand in the events that surround them, the activity of Christ acting so visibly does not seem to be a blessing. St. Pio’s stigmata are a good example.  While they clearly and visibly mark him as one favored by the Lord, those wounds were real and painful.  While he was physically and miraculously cured of cancer, no one would see that disease as a blessing from God.  Rather, his intense faith made him a perfect instrument of the Savior in a world whose moral fiber was rapidly deteriorating for lack of faith.

We look to Padre Pio in awe at his courage and faith.  We see in him the virtue that scripture speaks of, single-minded, myopic focus on Christ.  That faith allowed him to be God’s tool, an instrument that brought countless people to faith and continues to do so even after his death in 1968.  His example provides us with hope and faith.  We thank God on his feast day for the gift of St. Padre Pio.

[1] The picture is “Padre Pio” Photographer and Date are Unknown
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 334

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