Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
(Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24)
Of the four great killers of humankind – war, disease, famine, and natural disaster – war is the hardest to bear. Disease and natural disaster have an inevitable quality. They may take the greatest number of victims, but there is no one to blame except, for some, God. Today famine is mostly a by-product of war. Armies burn up fields to starve their enemy. Human malice brings about war and intensifies in its duration. Once engaged in battle soldiers often perpetuate grave crimes for the sake of victory. For this reason the prophet in today’s first reading envisions the bitterest of enemies reconciled.
The peace does not just happen. A leader endowed with the divine Spirit comes to rule the world with justice. He does not take advantage of the poor but gives all people their due. He makes the arrogant cower while he comforts the weak. Christians have seen this hope fulfilled in Jesus. He lifted up the lowly without ignoring the better off. His compassion acted on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the crazed. As he tells his disciples in the gospel reading, “’Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.’”
Today the Church celebrates St. Francis Xavier. As much as anyone, St. Francis worked for reconciliation among peoples. He traveled to faraway places to embed himself among the poorest of the earth. He sought Jesus in others and found Jesus to no small extent in himself.