Bearing the Marks of Jesus
October 4, 2018
The Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis, like St. Paul,
“boasted” in the cross of Jesus Christ.
He said no one could trouble him
because he bore the marks of Jesus on his body.
The marks with which the Greeks branded their slaves
were called stigmata.
St. Paul’s stigmata
were the scars that came from his ministry,
from the times he was flogged, insulted, stoned and left for dead.
St. Francis’ stigmata were different.
He literally bore the marks of Christ crucified on his body.
It was God’s gift to St. Francis,
who had so completely embraced
the life of the poor and humble Christ.
He went out like a lamb among wolves.
He carried no money, sack or sandals.
He lived as an itinerant preacher of the kingdom of God.
And he did it all with peace and joy
because he knew, like Job, that his redeemer was alive.
We honor St. Francis, our Blessed Mother and all the saints
because they turn us toward Christ.
St. Francis asks us to respond to the invitation of Jesus and
to take his yoke upon our shoulders and learn from him.
When we follow him and
when we work with him,
our yoke is easy and our burdens are light.
We, too, are called to bear the marks of Jesus
on our bodies and in our hearts,
in our words and in our actions.