I want to share shortly my personal reflection on this Feast Day of Saint Francis Xavier, our patron Saint – the great apostle of the Indies. When I read his biography and his mission story, I can always understand that he was an ambitious man. Ambitious in the sense of noble work. He had a dream, “to bring the world to Jesus Christ” (IgnatianSpirituality.com). He did great things of his dream by giving up his riches, education in order to free his soul. He joined with St. Ignatius to profess the vows, he was ordained priest, and went sailing to India. Maybe he did not do much like St. Ignatius because he died in a short period of time while he was in the mission. But the beginning of his mission journey and work was much bigger than that of St. Ignatius.
I do always like this quotation from his writing taken from the passage of the Gospel when Ignatius asked him, “what profits a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul” (Mk. 8:36). I found as well this passage very practical and appropriate to him. Francis chose to be poor and lived with the poor. He crossed geographical and cultural boundaries and traveled far distant miles in order to fulfill his dream, to bring the people to Christ. He was bold in preaching the Gospel. He underwent hardships and tribulations but he did not return back. He did not live long. But he gave his finest to the Lord.
The First Reading of his feast day is taken from the words of St. Paul, “there is an urgent need to preach the Gospel, since it is a duty which laid on me; I would be punished if I did not preach the Gospel” (I Cor. 19:16-19). As I am a Xaverian and a young missionary priest inspired by Francis Xavier’s footsteps, I feel compelled to preach Jesus to others. I want also to bring the “other” people into the sheepfold of Christ. The good news that I have heard and that transformed my whole life. I journeyed on my way of far distant miles from the Philippines to Sierra Leone to also share what I have heard and learned. How the Gospel pushes me to do more.
I always remember my former spiritual director who was a Jesuit, who is now in heaven, after my spiritual direction with him, he always told me: “you are a ‘Xaverian,’ St. Francis Xavier was my hero”.