December 3, 2021
by Nicky Santos, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community and Heider College of Business
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Lectionary: 179

Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
Matthew 9:27-31

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A brief bio on Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier

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A few years ago, I had the privilege of joining some trustees and friends of Creighton University on an Ignatian pilgrimage to Spain and Rome. That trip was filled with many special moments but one that was dear to my heart was a visit to the family castle of Saint Francis Xavier and a visit to the little chapel across it that contained the font that he was baptized in. Even though I was born and raised in the city of Pune, India, my family is from Goa. This is the place that Francis Xavier was sent to by Saint Ignatius at the request of the King of Portugal in 1541. Saint Francis Xavier is thus considered the first Jesuit missionary. His body is still intact (to a large extent) at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, except for his right arm which is in the church of the Gesu in Rome.

As we celebrate today’s memorial, we are reminded of the zeal and vigor that marked Francis Xavier’s passion for spreading the gospel, so much so that he is considered a missionary apostle second only to Saint Paul. Francis Xavier’s strength was his total, unwavering faith in the saving power of Jesus. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus asks the two blind men who were following him if they believed he could cure them, and they said they did. As we reflect on this gospel, we can ask ourselves whether we truly believe in the saving, healing power of Jesus. We might not be called to be missionaries in distant lands but are indeed called to be missionaries wherever we are, to continue to build the kingdom of God, a kingdom of joy, peace, justice, and righteousness.

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