Thursday, September 9, 2010

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, priest

(I Corinthians 8:1b-7.11-13; Luke 6:27-38)

Suarez, Lonergan, Rahner, Marechal, de Lubac, Chardin – these are names of great Jesuit thinkers. The Society of Jesus has distinguished itself perhaps more than any other religious community for academic theology over the last 450 years. Yet the greatness of the band is demonstrated more by the holiness of its members. Certainly St. Peter Claver endowed this latter category.

Peter Claver traveled from Spain to Colombia as a young Jesuit in the early eighteenth century. After he was ordained there, he began to work with slaves in the port city of Cartagena. He cured the slaves of illnesses and gave them instructions in the faith. He was fearless in entering disease-infested slave ships – all “for the greater glory of God.”

In the first reading today St. Paul instructs the Corinthians the truth Peter lived. As helpful as knowledge may be, it is always second to love. Knowledge can inflate one with pride. Love, on the other hand, makes others strong. Out of love for sensitive co-believers Paul advises his readers to forego enjoying meat sacrificed to idols as he might advise parents today to take care not to watch television with mature themes with their children. Out of love for God Peter Claver dedicated his life for the welfare of the most socially oppressed of His children.