Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot
(Isaiah 1:10-17; Matthew 10:34-11:1)
St. Benedict lived in the sixth century. Although he obviously had a charismatic personality, few historical records exist attesting to his life. His legacy is largely his “Rule” which was written as a blueprint not for an order of monks but for a way of life that any group can follow. A famous tenet of Benedict’s rule recommends welcoming the stranger. It reads, “All who arrive as guests are to be welcomed like Christ.” In today’s gospel, Jesus assures his apostles that those who treat them with such deference will be duly compensated.
Jesus recognizes that his preaching will not be easily accepted. Forbidding divorce, for example, will create many resisters. He foresees his followers having similar trouble. They will have to convince their hearers of the majesty of one who was executed by the state! Yet he knows that people seeking truth will find his words and deeds of divine origin. He tells his disciples that these people will provide for their needs.
Much of Benedict’s “Rule” can be applied to the lives of all Christians. We should balance prayer and work. We should comfort strangers of good will. We should be humble in our demeanor as Christ was.