Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

“Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.” (Matthew 10:29.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

In this passage, Jesus demonstrates his foresight in all things. The word without refers not to will but to foreknowledge. Some things happen because of his direct will, but some happen merely with his approval and consent. And so on the literal level, he is showing the subtlety of his foresight and his previous knowledge of events.

On the spiritual level, however, a sparrow falls to the ground when it looks at what is below it and falls to earth, ensnared by the vices of the flesh, given up “to dishonorable passions.” It loses its freedom together with its honor. For a sparrow is either borne always upward, or else it comes to rest by alighting on mountains or hills (the hills are metaphors for Scripture). And such a person is one who has been raised aloft by the Word but has his mind on earthly concerns.” (Fragment, 212.)

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure,
we may benefit from his great learning
and constantly imitate
the ardor of his charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen