“Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
The Gospel proper to this feast of St Eugene de Mazenod (Luke 4:16-21) narrates the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus: “God has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor.” This is the Gospel text that stood out for Eugene, and which he made part of himself and incarnated and lived for the rest of his life. Today it continues to be the guiding motto of the Mazenodian Family, especially given as a testament among his dying words:
Among yourselves, charity, charity, charity … and outside, zeal for the salvation of souls.
Today we recall the example of how he lived this text, in 1814, when brought the comfort of the Gospel and the Sacraments to the Austrian prisoners who were dying of the typhus epidemic. He not only ministered and assisted them in their suffering, but he also caught the illness himself and was on the point of death. Countless examples can be remembered during the many years that he was a bishop in Marseilles, his inspired leadership and pastoral care gave help and hope to those who were suffering from the repeated cholera epidemics.
Throughout his life he showed compassion and care for the poor, the sick and all who were regarded as the most abandoned. Today, he continues to inspire and to intercede for us in our time of need.
May we be open to hear the Good News of salvation again today, and to give flesh to it in our dealings with those most in need around us. Let us become the “Good News” of salvation!
Happy feastday to all the members of the Mazenodian Family!