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Friday, June 30, 2006

Homily First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church 30 June 2006

Yesterday, we heard of the grace and strength
which come from unity with the Church…
and how authentic unity with the Church
means faith in the whole teaching of Christ, and His One, Apostolic Church.

Today, we recall the words of Saint Augustine:
“Orthodoxy – that is ‘right belief’ – “without charity is not Christianity.”
“Orthodoxy without charity is not Christianity.”
For union with Christ is also a bond of love.

We speak of love so casually today:
I love golf…I love my car…I love apple pie…
But, is that love?

For an understanding of the true meaning of love,
we need to look no further than the Cross…
for no greater love is there than this:
that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome…whom we celebrate today…
knew this all too well.
For these men…and women…and children…people of all walks for life…
yet united under the one Faith and one Baptism of Jesus Christ…
suffered greatly for the faith they held dear.

Their ultimate sacrifice is the ultimate witness to the truth of our Faith.
Jesus Christ was so loved by these holy martyrs…
His Church so dear to them…the Faith so true for them…
that they were even willing to give their lives for Him.

So, when the doctrine of the Church makes no logical sense to the modern mind…
approach it with the love…the faith…the trust…of a martyr.

The example of the martyrs also teaches us how we are to live our faith.
Love, for the disciples of Christ…means being will to give our very life.
So, we must ask…
in our relationship with Christ… are we willing to die for love of Him?

Of course, persecution does not face us in Poland, Ohio, as it did the early Church.
There are no Emperors with hungry lions waiting for us here.
Still, it is no secret that the Church in our time is not immune from attacks…
they simply take different forms:
not being able to pray in public schools
being mocked in school or at work because of what you believe
family disputes over religious beliefs
the many demands modern life places on us…
which keep us from practicing the faith completely.
No less in our time than in any other…
does the faith demand courage in the face of persecution.

And this love unto death for Christ shall not go unrewarded…
for, as the Gospel today tells us…
“the one who perseveres to the end will be saved!”

The love of Jesus Christ whom we meet in this Eucharist is unfathomable…
it makes no exceptions…it knows no end.

So must our love be for Him and for His Church…
without exception…even unto death.

1 comment:

KeepingtheFaith said...

Beautiful homily on a beautiful subject. I especially loved the references to the modern world and its persecutions.
How difficult it is today to stand up for the faith.