Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, bishop
(Wisdom 1:1-7; Luke 17:1-6)
St. Martin of Tours captured the hearts of the people much like St. Francis many centuries later. As a youth, Martin soldiered but resigned his commission rather than serve the heretical emperor. He said at the time, “I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight." Martin became a monk and then a missionary. One day he was called to visit a sick person in the city of Tours. He was taken to a church where people were waiting to make him bishop. As bishop, Martin upheld Church doctrine but also defended rights of heretics. His tolerance alienated him from the Roman emperor. Martin is most remembered as the man who shared his cloak with a beggar.
The first reading today is taken from the Book of Wisdom. The work in part instructs rulers to be just and prudent in their judgments. Martin of Tours could serve as a model of its teachings. “…think of the Lord in goodness,” it reads, “and seek him in integrity of heart.” Martin lived for the Lord. He was true to God’s way of compassion. He did not seek punishment as an end but reconciliation.
All of us have at least some authority. We may be parents or supervisors. If nothing else, we make decisions about how to spend leisure time. We should strive to imitate St. Martin – faithful, diligent, and caring.