SATURDAY WEEK 10 OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR II
MEMORIAL OF ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
I KINGS 19:19-21, Matthew 5:33-37
There are many people whose life is that of contradiction. They say one thing and do the other. They appear very innocent and perfect, but their hearts are full of mischievous intents. As Christians, we are called to live a truthful and transparent life. Many of us do not only lie about the things we do, we win the sentiments of others by swearing in God's name. We hear phrases like "True to God", "I swear to God", or "God is my witness", and the likes. Many of such people if investigated will be found to be blatantly lieing. In the gospel reading of today, we hear Jesus warn us about living a double standard life. We should be true to ourselves and not swear to win our cases. According to Jesus, words of an upright man are taken sacrosanct, he does not need to swear to validate his words. This is why we are told today that if we are true to ourselves, we would only say YES or NO. There would be no other necessary words, no need to swear. It is also important to live a very straightforward life. You cannot say YES in public and start living a life of NO in private. You cannot say YES to an issue, go behind and say that you actually meant NO. Your YES should be YES, and your NO should be NO.
This was the type of life St Anthony of Padua lived. As an Augustinian Monk, he was inspired by the brave witness of the gospel and acceptance of Martyrdom by some Franciscan Frairs in Morocco. Desiring to be like them, he joined them and went to Morocco too, though his stay was cut short by illness. He met St Francis of Assisi during the Franciscan general chapter and was inspired by his life. He also went to Northern Italy and Southern France to preach the gospel, but he came back to Padua where he became an outstanding preacher and model of the Christian faith. Those who know him testify to his saintly life. He was never afraid to condemn evils both in private and public. His shrine became a centre of pilgrimage after his death, and he is blessed with the grace of interceeding for lost articles to be found. Children, treasures, and articles which were lost have been recovered through his intercession. We learn from him today to remain focused and straightforward in whatever we do. God help us.
St Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP