2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Psalm 118(119):129-133,135; Matthew 5:13-16
|St Antony of Padua (1195? - 1231)|
Saint Antony was first of all an Augustinian monk, but he was so impressed by the martyrdom of five Franciscans who had been spreading the faith in Morocco that he became a Franciscan friar himself, so that he could preach the gospel in Africa too. Illness obliged him to leave Morocco, and a storm then drove his ship to Sicily, so that he found himself taking part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221, where he met Saint Francis of Assisi himself. His preaching career then took him to northern Italy and southern France, then a stronghold of the Albigensian heresy. Later he returned to Italy, to Padua, where he was an outstanding preacher and the first Franciscan theologian. His sermons are full of gentleness, but he reproved the wicked with fearless severity – especially backsliding clergy and the oppressors of the weak.
His shrine is a centre of pilgrimage, and he is also the patron saint of the lost and found.
We inconveniently start at verse 18 in the chapter from Corinthians today. It may make more sense to read verse 17 first:
'Was I vacillating when I wanted to [make my journeys to see you in Corinth] ? Do I make my plans like a worldly man, ready to say Yes and No at once?'
St Paul is really saying that we can be confident - God is not going to deal with us like some politicians might, and back us one day and drop us the next. With God, Yes is constant, and No is constant. We do therefore know what is right and wrong - the choice is therefore clear.