Thursday, January 31, 2019

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest

(Hebrews 10:19-25; Mark 4:21-25)

The word scandal comes from the Latin scandalum which means stumbling block or trap.  Those who give scandal cause other people to fall into error.  They entice others to behave badly.  Beyond the hurt it has caused, scandal makes the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests especially opprobrious.  Priests not only victimized defenseless children.  As preachers of Jesus Christ, they have caused many people to disregard the graces he bestowed.

Today’s gospel gives a hint of Jesus’ importance.  He is the lamp that is to make everything visible.  By the light of Jesus human beings are to judge the good or evil of everything.  Those who use this light appropriately will gain wisdom beyond their mental capacities.  Those who reject it will lose the benefit of their natural wisdom.

Today’s celebrated saint, John Bosco, appropriated well the light of Jesus.  He urged his religious congregation to follow Christ in treating the boys in their charge.  He said that they are to show the same patience to the boys as Jesus showed to his disciples.  As Jesus put up with his disciples’ ignorance and roughness, so should Salesians bear with the orphans.  There is wisdom for all of us here.  Like Jesus, we should correct others gently when it is necessary.  We want to give the example of Jesus’ gentleness and kindness to poor sinners.