The canonization of St. Edward the Confessor reminds us that when Jesus said “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” he was speaking of the hold that riches have on us, not of the riches themselves.
“In St. Edward we have a man who had tremendous earthly power as the king of England – and with that came tremendous wealth; and yet, he is a saint, a model to all of us on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus,” said Father Gerald Seiler, pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Church, preaching to students at the Oct. 13 school Mass honoring their patron’s feast day.
Father Seiler offered examples of St. Edward’s faithful discipleship as England’s ruler from 1042 to 1066. The monarch used his reign to promote peace and remove unjust tax burdens on his people. And, while the king had every excuse to hand off the care of the poor and sick to his officials, he often “did this (work) himself personally,” Father Seiler told students.
“He saw his role not as an opportunity to lord over people or to look out for himself,” Father Seiler said. “He saw it as a tremendous obligation and also as an opportunity to serve God and God’s people.”
Pointing to an act of mercy dramatized minutes earlier by St. Edward’s seventh graders, Father Seiler described the time King Edward, who was carrying no money with him, removed a gold ring from his finger to give to a poor man – so the man could buy food. A couple of years later, the ring was returned to King Edward with the message that St. John the Apostle desired to give the ring back to its original owner.
“As it turns out, that poor man (looking for food) was St. John!” Father Seiler said. “When you serve the poor, you never know who you’re really serving! As Jesus said, ‘What you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me.’ And St. Edward knew this!”
All are called to be faithful disciples of Jesus, no matter their social status, Father Seiler said.
“Whether we are students or teachers or parents, St. Edward shows us that all of us can strive, with God’s help, for holiness!”