The Memorial of St Anthony of Padua
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
1 Kgs 21:1-16, Mt. 5:38-42. One sure secret to happiness is to learn to be contented with what we have. The poor think that they will be happy when they get rich, while the rich think that they will be happy when they get richer. In this vicious cycle, many do the unthinkable to gather more at the detriment of the life and happiness of others. Today's first reading describes king Ahab as a classic case of the greedy heart. Being a king, he had all the material and human resource at his beck and call, yet the sight of poor Naboth’s little vineyard sickened him, left him miserable and depressed until he got it. Queen Jezebel’s total disregard for the human rights of Naboth shows how far institutional authority can be abused by personal interest. Their combined crime cried out to Heaven for vengeance. It was a classic case of man’s inhumanity to man.
In today's Gospel, Jesus invites us to live by a totally different guideline, not to impose our will on others and not repay evil with evil, but to show mercy and goodness instead. The worst instinct in nature is to mistreat those who have intended us nothing but good. The crucifixion of Jesus is the supreme example of that. It is a much nobler instinct to seek to resolve evil through goodness. This divine instinct of patience and goodwill was what prompted Jesus, who endured the evil that was done to Him and responded with love. Basically, He lived and died to overcome evil with good. We need the grace and strength of the Spirit, to consistently follow the pacifist and peace-making lifestyle proposed by Jesus. St Anthony of Padua, whose memorial we celebrate was a man who followed the peaceful lifestyle of Christ in his life. Anthony of Padua was a Franciscan friar and Priest who was greatly remembered for his eloquent and moving sermons, inspired by the Holy Spirit and by the love that he had for the Lord and the poor. Anthony was a renowned Doctor of the Church, whose faith and commitment to God can be great sources of inspiration as we are challenged to imitate his determination to love the poor and the sick.
As we begin this week, may the Lord stay with us in all our trials and give us the courage to forgive others! Amen!! Good morning and have a productive week!!!