I know that I say often that I try to avoid multiple celebrations on one day but these two go together in their care for the poor.
Thomas, an Augustinian friar, may not have been viewed as the sharpest tool in the shed being a bit absentminded but revered and placed in high offices not as much for his intellect as for his holiness.
Antoine-Frederic, a layman, on the other hand was a brilliant and respected lawyer, scholar, and teacher. Instead of high offices he, remained a humble cleric.
Both lived in times that questioned everything about the Church and both saw the truth of the Gospel in the poor.
And that is the point I take away from them today. It often seems like the Church is under attack or the attitude of the world around it is negative toward her teachings, and we can focus there, but these saints tell us that if our true focus is on the poor, "these least ones" then the Truth will always triumph because it happens regardless of the attitudes of the world. Our success is not that the world views us kindly but that we have lived the Gospel. We can be articulate or not but It is our care and compassion, our imitation of Christ, that measures our success. Hopefully the world will see our deeds and give praise to the Father, but if not, then we have helped one another as we should.
Is that good man who does not entertain these sentiments aware said he of the care and pains I have taken to correct those against whom his anger is directed Have I not reproved and exhorted them several times both in public and private and mentioned them as incorrigible to the viceroy and governor of Valentia Let him in short inquire whether St Augustine and St John Chrysostom those two great lights of the Church used anathemas and excommunication to arrest the progress of drunkeness and swearing which were so common among the people under their care No for they were too wise and too prudent They did not think it right to exchange a little good for a great evil nor inconsiderately to use their authority and thus excite the aversion of those whose friendship they wished to obtain in order to influence them for their good.
-- From a sermon quoted in The Life of St. Thomas of Villanova, By Claude Maimbourg