Lord, help us to change and to embrace the truth
Feast of St Francis Xavier, Patron of Missions and Missionaries : Thursday 3rd December 2020
1 Cor 9:16-19,22-23; Ps 116:1,2;
Before being taken up to heaven, Jesus spoke to the Eleven. “He said to them ‘God out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’” (Mk 16:15).
St Francis Xavier, some 1500 years later, was challenged by his friend St Ignatius of Loyola with the very words of Jesus. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and forfeit his soul?” (Mt 8:36)
That challenge took Francis Xavier to travel to furthest lands to find God. The further into lands of “difference” he travelled, the more he came to see God in all places and all people. While trying to unify the world under Christ, Xavier was discovering the depth and extent of differences. He learned that God was revealed within those differences.
At first, differences were viewed as obstacles to his goal. Later, he discovered the variety and beauty of languages, faiths, cultures and living conditions. He began to feel and know God’s work. He was transformed in his understanding of ‘difference’ and ‘oneness’. While his work had a profound influence on others, he came to recognise that the interactions and contacts equally influenced him. The former Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Peter Hans-Kolvenbach, commented that ‘When the heart is touched by direct contact, the mind may be challenged to change’ (SCU, 2000).” To change is to embrace the truth.
Lord let us understand and know that your presence is much more than just tolerance of religious.