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Father Muench Says...

Three saints for our present time

July 1, 2020

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to share with you three of my favorite saints. As the Church’s liturgical year comes to the end of the month of June, these saints have special feast days. In addition, I believe that these saints are great patrons for these present times in our country and world.

First, there is St. John the Baptist. On June 24, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. This feast day is also a holiday in Quebec. In addition, I am thinking of the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Apostles (June 29). I do believe these three saints are rather important for our time, thinking of the pandemic and all the disturbing divisiveness in our society.

When it comes to St. John the Baptist, I am certain that you know the story. What I want to call to your attention is St. John the Baptist’s vocation. John the Baptist was called by God to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus, the coming of the Messiah. At this time, we are all called to be John the Baptist. All of us – priests, deacons, religious sisters, lay men and women – are called to the vocation of a John the Baptist and to prepare this world to again find the presence of the Lord and discover how important it is to bring Jesus into the minds and hearts of people. As he preached along the River Jordan, John the Baptist constantly encouraged people, telling them they could be better than they were. I believe that this staying home, this staying apart from others, has kept many of us from growing spiritually. Now is the time for us to get into that John the Baptist vocation of bringing others closer to the Lord. This is our opportunity to lead others to a better life, to make our world a better place.

St. Peter was the fisherman who became one of the Twelve. Peter was Jesus’ best friend, I think. Peter became the bold, unafraid leader of the early Church. The interesting thing – actually, the rather surprising thing – is that Peter was the one who seemed to fail often. He denied he even knew Jesus when Jesus was arrested. He always seemed to say the wrong thing, yet he became the surprising and very powerful leader of the early Church. We are called to be leaders in this Catholic Church in our time, a Church that needs good leaders, even surprising leaders like Peter.

And St. Paul was a powerful missionary who took Jesus’ message to an unprepared people. Paul was completely surprised that he would become the world’s greatest missionary. He was knocked off his horse and became an apostle, and he transformed his life and transformed our Catholic Church.

Like Paul, we must be ready for the surprises that come to us, especially now at this rather unusual time. I believe God constantly has surprises for us, opportunities to do something special – I like to call them our miracles – as we transform our lives, as we become missionaries like St. Paul, although our mission is right here at home.

One more thing to add here: The interesting thing is that all three of my saints are martyrs. They were so dedicated to God and the mission of Our Savior that they gave their lives for the Lord. Please remember, being a martyr does not mean just dying for God. For most of us, it truly means living for the Lord Jesus, ready to sacrifice for our God, ready to accept whatever life will bring so that we can truly bring Jesus to our world.

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