In our village up in the mountains of Cebu, we celebrate two feast days: St Isidore the Farmer (October), and St Joseph the husband of Mary (March). As a kid I was always fascinated by these two patron saints for our village. St Joseph, is a humble, simple and loving husband of Mary and adoptive father of Jesus. St Isidore is a humble and poor labourer in the farm owned by a wealthy farmer, who would always attend mass everyday before going to work.
As a kid, I really looked up to them as my inspirations of humility, simplicity and holiness. In fact I had this desire to become exactly like them thinking that people might speak well of me, praise me, revere me in the future as we did with St Joseph and St Isidore.
Thanks be to God for leading me not into this temptation to be someone I am not. The gospel today is one wake up call for me. To be a saint like St Joseph or St Isidore, is not about what people say or think of me. It is also not about who do ‘I’ think I am, but on ‘who’ Christ is in my life. It is not about me gathering people around myself but on bringing people to Christ, by being a disciple of Christ.
In our time, it is a great task to be a disciple of Christ, or to show to the world our being a Christian or to grow in holiness. Materialism, Atheism, Skepticism, Cynicism, mockery, ridicule or indifference are commonplace. These could block us from following Christ.
But today, Jesus is inviting us to do ‘faith check’: Who do I say Christ is in my life? How faithful are we to Christ?
If Christ is our friend, then let us show the world the beauty and the meaning this friendship has in our lives.
If Christ is the ‘Son of God’ for us then let us realize that He comes to save us and to make us his brothers and sisters. Thus, we are to live a life as sons and daughters of God- loving, generous, understanding, forgiving, hospitable, just, peace-loving and caring.
We are Christians because of Christ therefore we are to show this Christian faith we have through the fruits we produce, as St James would say: Faith to be alive in our lives is to be complemented with good works, otherwise, our faith is dead.
Fr Flor McCarthy says it wisely: ‘A watch that has a gold chain but which does not tell the time is worthless’ and ‘A fruit tree which in spring is full of blossoms and leaves, but when autumn comes has no fruit, is false and is only taking up space.’
May you all have a grace-filled week.