Francis emulated his beloved Lord, body, mind and spirit, influencing the Church and others around the world
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4, 2018): JB 19:21-27; PS 27:7-8; 8-9; 13-14; LK 10:1-12
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
For almost 800 years Christians around the world have loved and respected St. Francis of Assisi.
More than that, many have turned to him as a model for living the message of our Lord. Born to a wealthy Italian merchant family in 1182, he served as a soldier and was known for his worldly ways. After suffering injury and illness, Francis underwent a radical conversion. He heard Jesus tell him to “go out and build up My church which is nearly falling down.” And that’s exactly what Francis did – first by repairing an abandoned church building and then by dedicating himself to the service of Christ and His Church. Today’s Gospel surely influenced Francis in spreading the Good News: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:2-3). His profound poverty, penance and humility touched the hearts of many people and within twelve years, Francis has five thousand members of the Order of Friars Minor. He and St. Clare founded an order of nuns. Then he went on to start a Third Order of those we now call Franciscans.
St. Francis spent the rest of his life helping the sick and needy and imitating our Savior in all he said and did. He also received the stigmata, the physical signs of Christ’s wounds on his own body. This simple and holy man is also recognized for his love of all God’s creation as beautifully expressed in his Canticle of the Sun. Francis finished this prayer moments before he died in 1226 with the words, “Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death.”