AD SENSE

1st Week of Advent, Thursday, Dec 3: Feast of St. Francis Xavier

Isaiah 26:1-6 / Matthew 7:21, 24-27 

"Not everyone will enter it. "

A cartoon shows Linus building sand castles on a beach. Soon a whole city of castles covers the beach. Then a violent rainstorm breaks from the sky and washes the entire city of castles away. Linus looks on in total disbelief. After his experience with the sand castles and the rainstorm, Linus would have no trouble understanding Jesus' point in today's gospel. Listening to God's word without putting it into practice is as useless as building sand castles on a beach before a rainstorm.

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Which part of God's word do we find most difficult to put into practice?

Lord, help us not only to hear your word but also to keep it.

Help us not only to profess our faith but also to practice it.

Help us not only to love your Gospel but also to live it.

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St. Francis Xavier was a student of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and he was the co-founder of the Society of Jesus and one of the first seven Jesuits who were formed in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia and he was influential in the spreading of the faith especially in India. He even ventured as far as China but he was only able to reach what is now Hong Kong. In fact, he died there on the 3rd December 1552. Along the way, he also converted many peoples in India, especially in Goa, and also in Indonesia and Japan. He is said to have converted more people than anyone else has done since St. Paul.


For this reason he is the patron saint of the missions, together with St. Therese of the Child Jesus. And like St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier also considered preaching the Good News not just as a duty but also as a blessing. Like what St. Paul said in the 1st reading, he made himself as a slave to everyone so as to win as many for God as he could. Like St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier also made himself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost.

Like St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier left behind a legacy of missionary work and spirit that formed the blueprint and foundations of the Catholic faith in the countries. As the Lord Jesus promised, He worked with St. Francis Xavier and confirmed His word with signs.

We have seen these signs, and may we continue to see these signs so that we in turn will proclaim the Good News, like St. Francis Xavier did.

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Let us pray: Lord God, the feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of missionaries, prompts us to pray for all those who commit themselves to sow the seeds of your Good News all over the world: Give us many of these dedicated men and women and make them not only people who zealously proclaim your word not only by what they say but especially by the way they live it. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.

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There will be a day of reckoning: He humbles those who are proud.


Opera star Lily Pons died in Dallas in 1976. During her life

she was an international celebrity.  She ate barbecue at the White House with President Eisenhower and received the French Legion of Honor from Charles de Gaulle. After her death an auction was held to dispose of her estate. Commenting on it, Maryln Schwartz of the Dallas Morning News writes: “A picture of her partying with actor Humphrey Bogart went for 50 cents. Chatty letters from Princess Grace and Prince Rainier went for five dollars, as did a note from Princess Elizabeth

thanking Pons for a wedding present.”

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Do we realize that many things we prize now will be viewed as worthless after our death? “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth. . . . Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20

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When we think about life, there are many lessons that we can learn from it. For example, difficult roads always lead to beautiful destinations, as when we are climbing up a mountain and when we get to the summit we are rewarded with a beautiful vision and a sense of achievement. One of the truths of life is that hard work will have its rewards. Building something on rock is certainly not easy at all. Piling the foundations into the rock is going to be very hard work. But the reward is that the building will be stable and will stand firm.

Building something on sand can be easy but it will be risky. That is what Jesus is telling us in today's gospel. But the example of building something on rock and on sand is to bring in the point about how we listen to the Word of God and act on them.

Following the teachings of Jesus and doing God's will is certainly difficult and entails a lot of hard work of denying ourselves. But the reward will be what we heard in the 1st reading: That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city.

Facing the difficulties and challenges of our faith require a lot of hard work on our part but the reward will be that the foundations of our faith will be firm. And God will guard us along the way as He sets wall and rampart about us. When we build our lives on God our Rock and stand firm with Him, He will stand firm with us. And Jesus promises us that we will not fall. Let us trust in Him and continue to build on the Lord our Rock.