Archbishop Currie's Homily
Relic of St. Francis Xavier
We gather today to give honor to St. Francis and ask him for his continued protection. I thank Archbishop Prendergast, also Andre and Angele Regnier and CCO members for making this possible.
In today’s Gospel, we see Andre who fell in love with Jesus and found the way to true happiness and the fulfilment of God’s promise. Andre knew that unless people were told about Jesus and brought to meet Jesus, as he had, they would not find the freedom and happiness that he had come to know.
In the gospel, Andre became an eager disciple and missionary, Andre brought his brother Simon, to Jesus, he brought Greek-speaking strangers to the Lord, he even brought a young boy with a few loaves and fishes. Andre, it seems, could not help himself, he had to share with others, Jesus the true source of his joy and freedom.
St. Paul in his letter to the Romans reminds us “How are they to believe in one of whom they never even heard?” And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?
Like Andre, we are called to be the bearer of Good News, to be missionaries to those around us, in our homes and workplaces and neighborhoods. The history of the Church has many men & women who have spread the gospel in different ways.
Today in particular, we remember St. Francis Xavier, who some say, is the Church’s greatest missionary after St. Paul. St. Francis Xavier was born in 1506, ordained in 1537, died in 1552 but in those 46 years, he touched the lives of many. When he was suddenly asked to go to India – St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits said to him “Go set all on fire”.
St. Francis Xavier reminds us that God can do a lot of good things when we allow God to work through us. Francis allowed God to work through him as we read in today’s first reading. “Little children, let us love one another, let us love, not in word or speech but in truth and action”. Nobody said following Jesus would be easy. Thoughts of self-denial, of carrying the cross even Martyrdom come to mind.
Such grand sacrifices though begin with the commission John gives in today’s first reading. “Love one another, love those around you” hold them dear even when they push you away. Be devoted to their welfare even if they seem indifferent to yours. Hope and pray for their healing just as you do for your own.
As Francis was a great missionary to India and Japan, we should consider seriously our missionary duty. Francis, wherever he went, he lived with the poorest people sharing their food and rough accommodations. He spent countless hours ministering to the sick and the poor, particularly lepers. Very often, he had little time to speak and read his breviary but as we know from his letters, he was filled with joy.
As we gather today in the presence of the relic of St. Francis and remember that, he converted many to the Christian faith, let us pray that we may have a deeper conversion of heart and Jesus may become the centre of our lives.
As Francis after his conversion accepted the vocation of priest and missionary, let us ask him to help us know our vocation in life and help us always to bring the message of Christ to a world crying out for meaning. We are always in need of healing physical, emotional and spiritual. As we stand before his relic, may he touch and give us the healing that we need.
I pray that all of us may become missionary disciples of Jesus.