Saint Thomas More, feast day

By Rev. Luke Dundon


Six years ago, 2005.  I started my life as a seminarian at Mount St. Mary's seminary as a young 24 year-old.  The rector of the seminary got up in chapel and addressed all the new men with thee unexpected words: "Gentlemen, now you will meet the devil, now you will be tested in ways you never have before."  Having previously thought that seminary would be a peaceful and trouble-free journey, I was just a little bit surprised to hear these words!

But the peace I was expecting was not the same peace that the seminary was going to offer, and Christ has supported that today in the Gospel.  "I have come not to bring peace, but the sword."  Yet, elsewhere He says, "My peace I give to you, My peace I leave you. . . not as the world gives. . . I leave you my peace."  So, the peace which Christ offers us is a peace which brings the sword.

This sword was present in the life of St. Paul, who descries the very Word of God as a two-edged sword that is living and effective which drove him to proclaim the Good News in season and out of season.  St. Thomas More, a man for all seasons and our diocesan patron saint whose feast we celebrate today, was also driven by this sword which penetrates with Truth and reveals the hearts of all.  Sometimes this sword can cause division, perhaps even those close to us may decide to walk away.  King Henry VIII was a good friend of St. Thomas, but Thomas would not betray his faith in God because it was an anchor for his life's journey and provided deeper peace for him more than anything else.

We ourselves love the gift of our Faith, our presence here shows that.  But, St. Thomas' heroism may cause us to question, "would I pass the test as well as he did?"  In a letter to his daughter Margaret, St. Thomas questioned his own resolve --- "I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear . .  . I shall remember Saint Peter who began to sink from lack of faith, and thus call upon Christ and pray to him for help."

We may fail at times, we may sink and we may be tempted to run in shame, but even when we do, St. Thomas' life shows us that we should have hope.  We follow St. Thomas, the patron saint of our diocese who said," Nothing can come but what God wills.  And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best."

When the ultimate decision needed to be made, when the crucial test came, St. Thomas More chose His Lord and found peace in the midst of division and death.  Our lifetime is a gift from the Lord, and up to the moment of our death, we have the opportunity to choose the peace that comes from Him.  As we approach this altar, may we make our decision this day, "Lord, I choose you."  Amen.