Bearing the Marks of Jesus

October 4, 2018

The Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi

Job 19:21-27; Luke 10:1-12

Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 11:25-30


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.