Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
(Isaiah 26:6-10a; Matthew 15:29-37)
Today’s first reading portrays the Advent hope of the human family living in harmony. It pictures all peoples at God’s mountain sharing a meal. The vision is not being realized by globalization, which ignores the cultural attributes of smaller nations. Missionary activity like that of St. Francis Xavier more deeply bonds people together as its motive is love manifested in personal sacrifice.
Francis was a university student when he met St. Ignatius Loyola in Paris. He can be imagined as desiring a career and becoming wealthy. Hearing the vision of the former soldier, his dream was completely transformed. No more would he desire to accumulate wealth, but from then on he would work to bring Christ to other lands. He was preeminently successful in the endeavor having converted, it is said, hundreds of thousands.
We share the hope of peaceful coexistence in the world although at times have difficulty getting along with our neighbors. Like Francis Xavier we turn to Jesus in our need. Imitating his compassion and composure we too can befriend all. The world then will grow a bit closer to universal peace.