Fr Paul Gooley reads today’s Gospel from Mark (3: 1-6) in which Jesus cures a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Anthony, whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says St Anthony is the originator of the monastic life. He was born in Egypt and when his parents died, he listened to the words of the Gospel and gave all his belongings to the poor. He then went out into the wilderness to begin a life of penitence, living in absolute poverty, praying, meditating, and supporting himself by manual work. He suffered many temptations, both physical and spiritual, but he overcame them. Disciples gathered round him, attracted by his wisdom, moderation, and holiness. He gave support to the victims of the persecutions and helped St Athanasius in his fight against the Arians. The Gospels are full of wise sayings of Jesus that seem to be ignored, and one of the most poignant of these was in his meeting with that young man who asked over and over again, insistently, “What must I do to have eternal life?”. When, in the end, Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he would have to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor, the young man went away, sad; because he was very rich. So, Jesus tells this young man what he has to do, and the young man is afraid to do it. And yet… 250 years later, St Anthony hears this story, and does give away all that he has, and becomes the founder of monasticism. And then again, over 1,000 years later, St Francis of Assisi hears this same story, and gives away his possessions (and some of his father’s) and revolutionises Christianity again. St Anthony lived to be over a hundred years old and died in 356. On this day, as we traditionally do in our Church, Fr Paul invites us to ask, ‘St Anthony… Pray for us!’.