Gospel: Lk 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years, so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight and praised God.
But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!”
But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath, and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”
When Jesus said this, all his opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful things that happened because of him.
The saint we remember today was a truly remarkable man. Born a weaver’s son in Spain in 1807, he never forgot his humble origins. He himself eventually became a weaver and a designer in the textile mills of Barcelona. But he was ordained a priest in 1835 and was soon one of Spain’s most popular preachers. He then founded a congregation of preachers called the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (known today as Claretians).
In 1850 he was appointed archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, and there worked tirelessly to reform a much-neglected archdiocese. He also encouraged sound farming methods and credit unions. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain and appointed confessor to Queen Isabella II. During that period of his life, Claret discovered the power of popular press and soon founded societies to publish and distribute free Catholic literature, much of which he himself wrote. This interest of his would wield a strong influence on the future apostolate of his Claretians.
During the revolution of 1868, Claret was forced to leave Spain and he ended up in Rome, where he participated in Vatican Council I. Then, driven into exile in France, he died there peacefully in 1870.
Here was a marvelously modern saint.