Friday, November 4, 2016

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

(Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 16:1-8)

Few churchmen have accomplished as much as Charles Borromeo.  He forsook an aristocratic life to give himself to ecclesiastical reform.  He oversaw the production of the catechism, missal, and breviary which the Council of Trent ordered.  As bishop of Milan, he was frequently challenged by errant clerics and once was wounded in an assassination attempt.  When the plague threatened his city, he was on the front line with relief.  He might be seen as a disciple of St. Paul who pleads for imitators in today’s first reading.

Paul’s labors in preaching the gospel truly elicit admiration.  He not only tirelessly preached and taught the gospel throughout the Asia Minor and Greece; he did so under the severest of conditions.  He suffered shipwreck and beatings multiple times.  But Paul does not ask those to whom he writes to undertake these risks.  But he does insist that they not conform to the times by obsessing over food and sex.

We might see ourselves as reformers like St. Charles and St. Paul.  By gracious care for all we will show the world that God is not just a pious idea but is working in their midst.  The benefits may appear trivial, but they will make a marked difference in a few lives, including our own.