Saints Norbert and Marcellin Champagnat


Tobit 2:9-14
Mark 12:13-17


The saints whose feasts we celebrate today are excellent examples of the lessons of the readings for Mass.

The Book of Tobit tells the story of a really good man intent on caring for those who have nothing.  He is misunderstood, slandered and threatened; he receives little thanks and no praise – but for him, caring for those who need it is its own reward. The Gospel reminds us to get our priorities right. We all have different obligations and responsibilities, but our faith and care for our neighbour are our first priority.

We celebrate the feast of St Norbert, a rich and well-respected nobleman. A lucky escape from death made him realise what was truly important in life.  So he gave away everything in order to live a life caring for those most in need.  Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers, never had anything to begin with,  – no education, no wealth, only abject poverty.  Yet he wanted to also live a life of service and so battled to get an education and get ordained and get busy.  Coming across a desperately ill teenager, dying with no education and no faith, only made Marcellin all the more determined to pass on what he had earned by sheer effort and hard work – and bring faith, meaning and a chance for a better life to the illiterate and poverty-stricken children first of France, than to Oceania and the Pacific and then further still. 

It is so easy for us to expect praise and thanks, to have our ego stoked for what we do.  It is so common for us to think if we give away what we have, we will be poorer rather than richer in the things that matter.  It is easy for us to take for granted what we have or expect it as our right; it is so easy to be happy enough to have everything we need and more than we need, while others can only watch us waste more than they will ever have.

Our Scripture and Saints for this day paint a different picture.

Fr.Tom McDonough CP is the current provincial of the Holy Spirit Province.