Saint Diego Aloysius de San Vitores – Readings

Commentary on Acts 5:27b-33, 40b-41; Ps 30; Luke 12:4-9

In the Gospel reading from Luke Jesus tells his disciple who their real enemies are. They are not to be afraid of those who can just kill the body. The ones they are really to fear are those who can alienate one totally from God, with the result that they are eternally separated from a life with God. But they should not worry. Even sparrows, which are of such little account that they can be sold for a couple of cents, do not die without God being aware of it. Even the hairs of our head are numbered.
So it is important that, no matter how great the physical dangers we face, we continue to express our total allegiance to Jesus and his Way. But those, who, through fear, deny their faith will find that they will be closed out forever from going into God’s presence. Diego de San Vitores was a totally dedicated missionary, bringing the Gospel message to people who had never heard it before. He did not hesitate to sacrifice his life in his commitment to bring the message of the Gospel to people who had not heard it.

The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles speaks of an occasion when the Apostles were arrested by the leaders of the Jews for preaching the Gospel of Jesus as Saviour and Messiah. They are reminded that they have disobeyed strict orders not to do such things. Instead, they have filled Jerusalem with their teaching and put the blame for Jesus’ death on the leaders. Peter, speaking in the name of all, says that they have no choice but to obey God rather than any human orders. And he repeats the message they are preaching. God had raised up Jesus but he had been killed by the same people who were judging them. But Jesus had been raised up to God’s right hand leading Israel to true repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Finally, Peter says that he and his companions are witnesses of all this “as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him”. The message is clear. Peter and his companions have absolutely no choice. They can only obey God and continue doing what they have been doing – whatever the consequences.
For Diego it was the same. It was dangerous being a missionary. He could have retired to a safer place in the Philippines, in Mexico or back in Spain. But he knew that he had no choice. The Gospel had to be proclaimed, no matter what the dangers were. Most of us will probably never have to face such challenges but we might ask ourselves if we have never avoided the far lesser challenges we do meet.

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