Wednesday: 23 January –– 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
Mark 3:1–6 / Feast Day of St Vincent
Living the Truth –– Boldly
Jesus enters the synagogue. It is the sabbath, and there is a man with a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. Jesus did cure the man –– and gave a lesson in goodness and life. [They] went out and immediately took counsel….against him to put him to death.
Today is the feast day of St Vincent, a deacon during the days of the emperor Diocletian and a martyr who was subjected to awful torture before he died. Vincent was hated and killed simply because of his loyalty to Jesus Christ and living the truth of the gospel.
The New Testament warns us that all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2Tim 3:12). I sometimes think of a line I heard years ago: "If you are not being persecuted in some way for your faith, you are likely being seduced."
The Office of Readings for St Vincent has part of a sermon from St Augustine in which he says: "if our personal pleasures do not hold us captive, and if we are not frightened by brutality, then the world is overcome. At both of these approaches Christ rushes to our aid, and the Christian is not conquered."
We live a world where an oppressive spirit is starting to be openly hostile to Christians who respond to –– let's call it what it is –– sin that popular opinion wants to justify and say is right. There is a growing intolerance for Christians who cannot give their blessing to abortion and homosexual practice.
It has been widely reported that Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square." I often wonder if, assuming I live a normal life span, whether I may someday face criminal charges for proclaiming Christian truth that has been legally proscribed.
As we think of our Lord –– doing what was right and good even as his enemies looked for a reason to kill him….
As we think of St Vincent –– suffering a horrible death for an ultimate loyalty that he would not compromise….
As we think of ourselves –– living in a world that is no friend of grace…..
May our Lord give us wisdom, fortitude, and the grace to follow…. to the cross, and to the resurrection that follows.