Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church
(II Corinthians 3:15-4:1.3-6; Matthew 5:20-26)
Ask any person what she most wants in life. It’s very possible she will respond “God.” But for many God seems unattainable. They may come to the conclusion that God does not exist or that the quest for him is too troublesome. As a result, they settle for less satisfying goals, more often than not pleasure, power, or luxury. St. Paul, in contrast, did not weary of the search for God. He found Him through our Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s first reading he intimates how he located Him.
Paul says that Jews are at a disadvantage in finding God because they do not recognize Jesus as Lord. Christians, on the other hand, can see God revealed clearly. This vision enables them to live truly good lives. As Jesus himself says in the gospel, their righteousness brings them to the glory of heaven. Paul sees himself as a servant who makes Jesus known to others. He does not mind the task, which entails grave hardship, because Jesus wills it.
We too are called to reveal the Lord Jesus so that others may find God. We carry out this mission by showing goodness in the name of the Lord. Amidst a culture of self-promotion and crudeness our acts of love will bring others’ attention to Jesus.