St Anthony, pray for us!

Homily for Mass – Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa

[Readings: 1 Sam 16:1-13;  Ps 89;  Mt 2:23-28]


One thing I noticed as I reflected on the first reading is that Samuel is so in tune with the Lord that he is able to know precisely what the Lord wants: Samuel hears the Lord.  But interestingly, that intimacy with the Lord goes hand in hand with his own impulses which are not what the Lord desires.

The reading begins with the Lord asking Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul?”  Samuel struggled with the fact that the Lord wanted a new king anointed for Israel.

And then later when Samuel knows that one of Jesse’s sons is to be anointed king, the Lord has to correct Samuel’s way of seeing things.  But – even though Samuel is wrong in his judgements –  the important thing is that he is listening to the correction that the Lord gives.

This highlights an important reality: our closeness with the Lord, our intimacy with Him, will not magically make our own inner struggles go away.  We still have to fight, with God’s grace, our resistances to what the Lord wills.

We remember today St Anthony, one of the early monks in the Christian tradition.  Those monks aimed at a close following of Jesus’ way – to literally dispossess themselves and to follow the Lord by going out into the wilderness to engage in the spiritual battle with evil:  to face their ‘demons’, their inner resistances to the Lord’s will for them.

Today as we honour St Anthony the abbot, let’s ask him to pray for us.  Despite our own struggles to live the faith, and despite our own inner resistances to God’s will in our lives, let’s pray that like Samuel we may always have a listening heart … a heart that is open to the Lord’s word to us.

With God’s grace, especially assisted today by the graces of this Mass and our sacramental communion with the Son of Man, may we be able to live God’s will more and more in our lives.


More on St Anthony here.