|Gospel||Luke 17:20-25 ©|
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’
Today is the memorial of St Martin of Tours, and I am thankful to have him as our guest, in our segment “Chat with the Saints” today.
JF: St Martin, I believe you are a great man when you were still here on earth. Now can you tell us, something about yourself?
St Martin: I was born in the year 316 in Pannonia, Northern Italy of a pagan parents.
JF: Oh that’s interesting! But you were baptized though…
St Martin: Yes, I was baptized.
JF: Now, did you really have some ideas or inner inkling that you’ll be a great saint someday?
St Martin: No, in fact, I was conscriptedinto the army when I was still young.
JF: Oh, and did you stay on long in the army then?
St Martin: No, after sometimes there, I felt I have another vocation. I felt like giving up my career as a soldier in the army, and wanted to serve as a “soldier of Christ.”
JF: Oh that’s a vocation story. So what did you do then?
St Martin: I left the army, and went to France. I lived a religious life, a monastic life, under the guidance of no less than St Hilary himself.
JF: Wow! It should be a great atmosphere living with a saint, hey! He might have motivated you so well that you also were influenced by him. And now you’re a great saint.
St Martin: I didn’t remain there in the monastery for long though.
JF: What happened?
St Martin: Well, I was ordained priest, and then in 371 I was chosen a bishop of Tours.
JF: Quite a responsibility then?
St Martin: I just did what Jesus did as a good shepherd. I founded few monasteries. I always made it sure to give good instructions to the clergy, as well as preaching the gospel to the poor.
JF: How about the heresies that arose in your time? How did you get on with all those heretics?
St Martin: Yes I fought the heresies but I’ve always shown mercy to the heretics.
JF: How could you do that?
St Martin: Jesus did, so I followed. He hates the sins but loves the sinners…so…
JF: Oh, you’re right. But it should be very hard for you then?
St Martin: It was not easy indeed. But I love my ministry. I lived a very simple, austere life, and always made it my obligation to visit all the parishes in my diocese.
JF: Thank you St Martin for your example. Thank you for showing us the truth that though it seems difficult to follow Christ today, it is not impossible anyway…as you can testify it yourself. Happy feast Day…Cheers!!!
P.S. By his example and preaching he did much to spread the light of the Gospel in fourth-century Europe. He died in 397.
St Martin of Tours, pray for us…