The Memorial of St John-Mary Vianney

The Memorial of St John-Mary Vianney


Jer. 31:31-34, Mt. 16:13-23. Can a human rock become the foundation of the Church of Christ, who is the solid rock? In the prophecy of Jeremiah, the concept of 'rock' is negatively interpreted as one who is stubborn and heady. A similar switch of meaning is involved in the word 'flesh'. In today's first reading, Jeremiah contrasts the 'flesh' with 'rock', so that it symbolises a warm person, who is sensitive to the will of God and needs of others. Such a person will no longer lord it over others, for “All shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” They will approach the Lord as a single people of faith, for the covenant will be inscribed on the flesh of their hearts. Yet in today's Gospel, the “flesh” indicates the limitations of human nature, of itself unable to adequately answer Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that the Son of Man is?” Peter’s declaration of faith in Christ came as a revelation from the Father, as Jesus points out. However, did he comprehend what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God?

The latter events tell us that Peter had no idea of what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. If he had, he would not have been “obstacle” and opposed the plan of God. It is one thing to receive a revelation; yet another to receive the grace of understanding and living the same. St John-Mary Vianney whose memorial we celebrate had the grace of understanding and lived it out as he carried out his mission and works among the people of Ars-en-Dombes, an isolated village some distance from Lyon. While in formation, John Vianney had difficulty in his academic formation, as a slow learner. Eventually he managed to pull through, completed his Seminary studies and was finally ordained a Priest, given the assignment to be the Parish Priest of a small town of Ars, from which his famous nickname, the Curé d’Ars originated. He had a difficult start in that town and Parish of Ars, because of the Revolution and wars, which lasted over two decades which caused the people to lose their faith, with some being outright hostile against the Church and clergy. Nonetheless, those obstacles did not deter him from being committed to his works. He continued to labour day after day getting his flock to open their hearts and minds to the Lord. Today, St John-Mary Vianney is remembered for spending about sixteen hours daily in the confessional box.

May the Lord direct our thoughts, words and actions so that we may know and do, His will! Amen!! Good morning and have a wonderful day!!!

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