Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
(Isaiah 26: 1-26; Matthew 7:21.24-27)
Advent is called the season of hope. During these four weeks we long to find salvation. But hope is more than longing. It has a plan or, at least, a good reason to believe that salvation is near. Today’s reading from Isaiah names “the Lord” as its reason for hope. Some say the Lord is an ethereal reality because He is spiritual. But the spiritual can be the most substantial of realities. The reading calls the Lord “an eternal Rock.” He is a firm and stable basis from which we can achieve our hope of salvation.
Today’s gospel ends Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The Lord has just laid out his road map of salvation. He has told us to trim our desires and to love the bad and the good alike. He gives no pretense that we can achieve salvation on our own. We must wait for God’s grace. Then, like a house built on rock, we will not fall but will realize our hope.
Today we honor one of the Church’s most remarkable saints. Francis Xavier, like Jesus, was born in nobility but gave it up to work among lowly humans. As a missionary, Francis went to the India, the Malay peninsula, parts of Indonesia, and Japan. He converted hundreds of thousands of people. Francis’ foundation was the Lord, Jesus Christ. With this strong base, he even reached heaven.