St. Francis Xavier introduced many in India, Japan and other nations in the east to faith in Jesus Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier (December 3, 2018): IS 2:1-5; PS 122:1-2,3-4,4-5,6-7,8-9; MT 8:5-11
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we salute a patron of Catholic missions: St. Francis Xavier.
Born in 1506 in what is now Spain, he went to Paris to study for an academic career. There, Francis met St. Ignatius of Loyola, became one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest. Francis was appointed to serve the spiritual needs of Portuguese people who had settled in Goa, India, as well as to act as Papal Nuncio in the East. He arrived there in 1542 and, over the next 10 years, built up a Catholic community among the Indians before moving on to Malacca and the Maluku Islands where he also had success in establishing missions. Francis then went on to become the first missionary to Japan. Although he hoped to reach China, Francis Xavier died of fever on an island off the Chinese coast at age 46.
The important missionary efforts of St. Francis Xavier reflect the words of Christ in today’s Gospel: “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). He converted many who had never heard the name of Jesus before Francis spoke it to them along with the message of salvation. He was canonized in 1622 at the same ceremony as his good friend and fellow founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola.