Both saints, Jerome Emiliani and Josephine Bakhita, endured adversity. The former, a 15th-century military commander, who was vanquished by an invading force, found peace with God in prison and after escaping, devoted his life to the underprivileged, especially orphans. This was despite experiencing and overcoming the deadly plague himself.
St. Bakhita who was kidnapped and trafficked as a child and sold into slavery, where she endured severe maltreatment, later found peace in a convent, offering up her sufferings to God. She died in 1947 and is the Patron Saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. The first reading describes the wonders of creation and the domination given by God to humankind over the natural world. This was out of love for us.
The Gospel proclamation tells us that when people found the Lord Jesus on the other side of Lake Gennesaret, they “ran throughout the whole region” brought the sick to him and they were healed. We can only imagine the crowds mobbing him and the number of sick people they had gathered from the area for healing. Our Lord Jesus had just taught and fed the five thousand before seek¬ing solitude on the other side of the lake, but could not avoid the crowds and, tired as He was, still healed all those brought to him.
There is a common theme between the lives of Sts Jerome Emil¬iani, Josephine Bakhita, Adam and Eve, and the healing ministry of Jesus. Adversity, whether caused by our actions, as in the case of our first parents; or by circumstances, such as war or the evil actions of others, as in the case of the two saints memorialised to-day; or by congenital or acquired illnesses that were healed by the Lord Jesus; all offer the opportunity for redemption, If we embrace it and chose to accept the mercy, forgiveness and unending love of God. Just like the two saints and the sick healed by Jesus, we too require healing, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.
Prayer: Abba Father, we pray that you send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us the grace to be humble, to repent and to joyfully accept the redemption Your Son earned for us. Amen