Gospel Reflection- Thursday (4 August) – 18th week of Ordinary Time – St John Vianney
Today, Fr Paul reads the Gospel from Matthew (16: 13-23) in which Simon-Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God, after Jesus asks the disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’. After reading the Gospel, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St John Vianney, whose memorial we celebrate today.
Fr Paul says, John Vianney was born in 1786 and was the son of a peasant farmer. It took John quite some time to become a priest and he was eventually ordained more on account of his devotion and devoutness rather than any academic achievement or signs of promise.
In 1818 he was sent to be the parish priest of Ars-en-Dombes, an isolated village some distance from Lyon, and he remained there for the rest of his life simply because his parishioners would not let him leave. He was a noted preacher, and a celebrated confessor and such was his fame and his reputation for insight into his penitents’ souls and their futures, he had to spend up to eighteen hours a day in the confessional.
The tens of thousands of people who came to visit this obscure parish priest turned Ars into a place of pilgrimage.
The French State recognised his eminence by awarding him the Medal of the Légion d’Honneur in 1848, and John Vianney simply sold it and gave the money to the poor.
He died in 1859 and is the Patron Saint of Parish Priests.
On this special day, Fr Paul invites us to pray St John Vianney…Pray for us!