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Memorial of St. John Vianney
Jeremiah 26:11-16, 2
Psalm 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
Matthew 14:1-12
At the urging of priests and prophets who spoke to princes and the people,
Jeremiah was threatened with death because he had called the city to repentance
and reform from evil ways and deeds. Jeremiah was rescued after the princes
and the people recognized and then told the prophets and the priests that
Jeremiah had spoken in the name of God. Not only the great servants of God like
Jeremiah, but also, the Psalmist declares, the lowly and the poor too who seek
God may be glad in and rescued by his great love. Matthew tells us that, when
Herod became aware of Jesus˅ mighty powers, he feared that Jesus was John
the Baptist raised from the dead.
In linking the mission of Jeremiah, ˈa prophet to the nationsˉ (Jeremiah 1:3) and
the ministry of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, ˈamong those born of
women there has been none greaterˉ (Matthew 11:11) to the life of a truly humble
French parish priest, John Mary Vianney, the Church retells us how the lowly who
discern and do gladly routine work as God˅s work allow God to do great things.
Jeremiah and John were probably extraordinarily gifted men. But, according to
the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vianney˅s ˈdifficulties in making the preparatory stud-
ies [for priesthood] seem to have been due to a lack of mental suppleness in
dealing with theory as distinct from practice ˁ a lack accounted for by the mea-
greness of his early schooling, the advanced age at which he began to study, the
fact that he was not of more than average intelligence, and that he was far ad-
vanced in spiritual science and in the practice of virtue long before he came to
study it in the abstract.ˉ
Jeremiah publicly proclaimed reform, and John publicly preached repentance.
But Vianney spent thousands of hours hearing private confessions, one soul at a
time. Jeremiah and his vocation were ˈknown to Godˉ before God ˈformedˉ him