Jesus and his disciples are trying to get a break from the large crowds that are pursuing them. He is performing miracles and curing the sick, and even the unclean spirits recognize him and bow down before him. It strikes me that while we have been hearing about the Pharisees in the last two days criticizing Jesus for not obeying the Sabbath, many of the common people of this region see Jesus as someone very special who is proclaiming the true kingdom of God through his works and his actions.
The circumstances in which we live out our faith can be very challenging indeed. In our modern world, we Christians can receive a lot of criticism for the way we try to live out God’s laws. Frances de Sales, the saint whom we celebrate today, had his challenges as well. He was assigned to a region just outside of Geneva, Switzerland right after the Protestant reformation. Geneva was a center of Calvinism, so it had become very anti-Catholic. Yet, rather than being critical of Protestantism, Frances de Sales concentrated on preaching the word of God with joy and enthusiasm and vigor. He was not even allowed to enter Geneva when he was made the bishop of that city, so he had to administer his duties from about 50 miles away. Many people saw the depth of his faith and holiness, and he won over many converts. He was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1877. He is well known for his spiritual writings, especially Introduction to the Devout Life, which tried to guide the laity down the road to holiness in their daily lives of faith. Frances de Sales is the patron saint of writers and journalists.
In the reality of our own lives, no matter what our ups and downs, may we feel that call to holiness in our hearts, and may we be every mindful of the way God is present in that reality.