Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, religious

(Titus 2:1-8.11-14; Luke 17:7-10)

“Who do you think you are on the streets all night, Mother Cabrini?” fathers in Denver would chide their daughters who came home late. St. Frances Xavier was a phenomenon. Born in Italy, she headed a religious congregation of women at thirty years old and then came to the United States where she crisscrossed the country founding hospitals and schools in her work especially with Italian immigrants. She ably reflects the kind of dedication that Jesus expects of his disciples in today’s gospel.

Jesus sounds harsh as he tells the apostles that they should work without rest or complaint. It is significant that his audience is the Twelve who are destined to lead churches. They are not to give in to the temptation of accepting adulation from the people as if they were the Lord himself. Rather they must remember that they have been chosen precisely because they are capable of working field-and-house, day-and-night.

So how about the rest of us? Are we to work as tirelessly as Jesus’ chosen twelve? First, let us remember that the work of the Lord is not entirely drudgery because the Lord himself accompanies us. We can talk with him at any time. Then, we must be mindful of all that must be done to prepare the harvest. Unfortunately, there are not always many hands to share the task. Finally, we know that Jesus in his love wants us to be built up not crushed by our ministry in his name.