St. John Bosco lived from 1815-1888. He founded the Society of St. Francis de Sales, known as the Salesian order. Coming from a very poor family, after being ordained a priest, he wanted to devote his ministry to the care of poor young boys – such as he had been – educating them in all areas of life, including the arts; and of course sound Christian doctrine to prepare them for life. He became a pioneer in vocational training, opening workshops to educate tradesmen of all kinds. He was very well liked in life and mourned by a great many at his death. He was canonized on Easter Sunday 1934 by Pope Pius XI who knew him as a young priest.
The readings today are especially suited for this feast. The first reading reminds us all to be faithful to the education, especially Christian education and formation that we have received: which recommends that we hold on to whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious. Keep thinking about these things in a regular and a happily disciplined sort of way and you will experience the peace of God in all your undertakings and in dealing with what life sends you!
The gospel passage reminds us that those who remain ever childlike, ever teachable, ever open to new ideas, ever open to even greater gifts from God shall be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven – and they will be the ones to lead the way to there from here!
And a child shall lead them!