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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Oct. 27, 2013

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23

2) 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

I recently read Patrick Foley's biography of missionary bishop Jean-Marie Odin. As the first bishop of Texas, he arrived in the Republic of Texas in 1840. In 1845, Texas became a state, expanding greatly the territory this far-traveling bishop would have to tend.

And he did travel it. He rode horseback on primitive roads; he walked through swamps and wilderness, all for the love of God and to bring the Gospel, the sacraments and the presence of the church to Catholics and others who would listen to his words.

Bishop Odin had a great love for the Native Americans of his territory, for the Mexicans who lived there and the Europeans, and for Americans who immigrated into or were native to the area.

He lived simply and was once reproved for his worn and torn vestments when he showed up for a visit with the archbishop of New Orleans. Often in his travels, he was stricken with life-threatening illnesses. Always he persisted in his mission work.

He first had traveled across the Atlantic from his native France to minister in rural Missouri, where he did much of the same kind of itinerant ministry of the word and the sacraments when he was able to spare time from his teaching work in the seminary in a small settlement 80 miles from St. Louis.

The apostle Paul also was someone who traveled widely and at great risk to proclaim the Gospel. In his Second Letter to Timothy, he writes, "I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." At the end of his service as the second archbishop of New Orleans, where he spent the last nine years of his ministry, Archbishop Odin would have well been able to echo Paul's brave words.


Have stories of the evangelizing work of the saints and servants of the church been an inspiration to you? How?


"The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom." -- 2 Timothy 4:18ab


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