Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
An old saying from the title of a 1940 Thomas Wolfe novel states, “You can never go home again.” This statement is meant to infer how we remember people and places from our upbringing in static terms. This old adage was proven true when Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth.
The locals remembered Jesus as a youth, knew his parents and other relatives, and that he was a carpenter as a young man. On his return, he may have expected a warm homecoming, but instead, he was treated with indifference and doubt. They questioned the source for his knowledge and his ability to perform miracles. You can almost hear them saying, “Who does he think he is?”
Familiarity may sometimes cause a certain form of blindness. Too often in our relationships with family and friends – we know each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings. This can prevent us from seeing the best and brightness in the people we know well. Today’s Gospel ends with, “He was amazed at their lack of faith.” I doubt Jesus was just “amazed,” but genuinely disappointed!
What are we missing when we lack faith? Is our faith in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, the Word of God, and the community gathered growing ever stronger?
Saint John Bosco was ordained a priest in Turin, Italy, on June 5, 1846 – the threshold of the Industrial Revolution, a challenging time for young men. He formulated an education system based on reason, religion, and kindness. Despite pushback, he conducted workshops for tradespeople and manual laborers, developed schools of arts and sciences for young workers, and developed schools of the liberal arts for those preparing for the priesthood. Father John Bosco died on January 31, 1888, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934. Pope John Paul II named him “teacher and father to the young.”
O God, who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco as a father and teacher of the young, grant, we pray, that, aflame with the same fire of love, we may seek out souls and serve you alone. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect)