Monday, July 15, 2013

Memorial of Saint, Bonaventure, priest and doctor of the Church

(Exodus 18-14.22; Matthew 8:34-11:1)

When St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan friar, was studying in Paris for the celebrated master’s degree, the diocesan clergy opposed his candidacy.  The mendicant orders were ascendant throughout Europe, and friars took over many professorial positions at the University of Paris threatening the dominance of the diocesans.  Through an order by the pope Bonaventure was granted the degree and became one of the Church’s greatest theologians.  The gospel today hints at a similar instance of unfortunate rivalry.

Jesus almost sounds as a troublemaker as he warns his disciples to expect hostility when they follow him.  It is not that he advocates the use of force or any immoderate behavior.  But the righteousness to which he is calling his disciples live will set them against their own families.  They are not to worry as he will more than compensate them for any loss they sustain for his sake.

Parents give permission for adolescent daughters to take contraceptives.  Families inculcate racial prejudice.  Elders tell children to lie on their behalf.  There are many familial matters for faithful followers of Jesus to resist.  One consolation we have in doing so is that we join the company of saints like Bonaventure.

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