top of page

SATURDAY OF THE TWENTY-NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME OCTOBER 23, 2021 ST JOHN OF CAPISTRANO


ST JOHN OF CAPISTRANO (1386-1456)



A reading from the holy Gospel according to Lk 13:1-9


Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”


REFLECTION

"I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future."


In October 1347, 12 ships from the Black Sea docked in Messina, a Sicilian port. Most sailors were dead and those who were still alive were covered with black boils oozing blood and pus. It was believed to have started in South Asia, and quickly spread along trade routes reaching Europe. The cause was infested rats with fleas that carried the bacteria. Social distancing and quarantine were used to fight the Black Death. In just 4 years it killed 20 million people. There now is a cure for it--an antibiotic.


St John Capistrano was born in 1386, was well educated, became governor of Perugia and fought in battles. He decided to change his life and through the grace of God became a priest. His preaching was well known and he and 12 other Franciscans brought clarity to a world full of disaster and confusion.


The Soldier Priest St John of Capistrano was a Franciscan friar. He was born during the time of the Bubonic plague where one third of the population and 40 percent of priests were wiped out. The Western Schism in the Church had 3-4 claiming to be the pope. England and France were at war. Cities in Italy were constantly in conflict. Gloom was everywhere.


Unfortunately, his own Franciscan order was inner fighting because of different interpretations of the rules and those differences were resolved. He led an apostolic life, strengthening Christian morals and combatting heresy.


In 1453 the Turks invaded Constantinople and St John of Capistrano was commissioned to preach a crusade against the invaders, and helped defeat the Turks keeping Christian Europe safe. The plague spread in the camp and St John of Capistrano died on October 23, 1456. He is the patron saint of military chaplains.


Plagues, quarantine, arguments, social distancing, confusion and uncertainty are not new. St John of Capistrano was a dedicated priest who did not allow fear to stop him from fighting and confronting the enemy. He was faithful to the spirit and served with conviction, unselfishness and abnegation.


We are living now through the Covid plague, social distancing, quarantining, and millions dying. History repeats itself. Jesus warns us of the need to repent and to bear fruit. We want and need good "soldier priests" who will go out to battle for us and with us, helping us to bear fruits in our lives.


PAPA (Priest Always Prayer Apostolate) is just right for us. We are encouraged to pray for priests to lead us now during these difficult times, to remind us of what God has done for us and to daily feed our souls.


God Bless You


Σχόλια


PAPA Foundation
bottom of page