Fr Richard's words for today's memorial of St Martin of Tours:
Fidelity in service
When he was young, St Martin was a solider. One day in Amiens, he came across an unclothed beggar who was very cold. Martin took off his military cloak and cut it in half with his sword – keeping half of it for himself and giving the other half to the beggar. That night, Martin had a vision in which Christ appeared to him and said: “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.” The famous story is a wonderful reminder of how to serve the needy is to serve Christ. After the vision, Martin continued his catechumenate with dedication and was eventually baptised aged 18.
Like the Samaritan in today’s Gospel, Martin was sure to give praise and thanks to God for acting in his life. From his simple act of charity, St Martin’s faith became steadfast. After leaving the army, he set out to be a solider for Christ. He studied under St Hilary of Poitiers and became a monk, establishing a monastery. As a priest, he was a zealous evangelist, bringing many to the waters of baptism. He reluctantly accepted the people’s push for him to be appointed Bishop of Tours, an office he served with holiness and dedication. Just as Christ worked a miracle by healing the ten lepers in today’s Gospel, so too God gave Martin miraculous powers, including the raising of three people from the dead.
St Martin’s unwavering fidelity to serving Christ is a wonderful example of how we should respond when Jesus says to us: “Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.” When Jesus acts in our lives, we too are called to go on our way: to make Christ known in our community and to be unceasing in our care for others.