5 February – Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
We have little reliable information about this martyr who has been honoured since ancient times, and whose name is included in the canon of the Mass. Young, beautiful and rich, Agatha (d.250) lived a life consecrated to God. When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, the magistrate Quinctianus tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her. Handed over to a brothel, she refused to accept customers.
After rejecting Quinctianus’ advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, her breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?” One version has it that St. Peter healed her. She was then imprisoned again, then rolled on live coals; when she was near death, an earthquake struck. In the destruction that followed, a friend of the magistrate was crushed, and the magistrate fled. Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.
Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted erupts of Mount Etna. Her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551.
– Patron Saint Index
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Take yourselves for instance, brothers, at the time when you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the word, how many were influential people, or came from noble families? No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about to God, but you, God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.
Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self? For if anyone is ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his own glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.’
For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm
Church volunteers sometimes can lose sight of the reason why they started to help out in a parish ministry. This can be found in the discussion of the ways the ministry is currently run and the caliber of the leaders of the ministry. Indeed, perhaps sometimes there may even be unhappiness and rival factions within a particular group. Such divisions represent the work of man and the pursuit of glory and power for the sake of achieving a desired aim. The first reading of today reminds us on the source of King David’s victory and power.
God had called him from the care of sheep and lambs to become the leader of Israel. At every step of his life, God was guiding him in battle and making decisions. In the face of great enemies and difficulties, God was by his side. Even when King David sinned, God forgave him for his guilt and allowed King David’s lineage to last forever. Sometimes we forget that God is all-powerful and is always with us to guide our actions. We need to be able to remember that he is here with us and this happens through prayer. Prayer allows us to encounter with God in the most intimate way. To achieve this method, we need to go beyond routines to approach prayer with sincerity and honesty. Prayer should never become mechanical way of expression but one of heartfelt emotion.
God wants to work through us to allow us to grow in faith and love with Him and all the people around us. The issue here is whether we allow God into our lives and whether we can allow Him to enter into the deepest recesses of our hearts. Let us pray for the grace to become receptive to the word of God in our life and let it enter into the areas of darkness
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer – Dear Father, let us discover the original joy we had in our lives when we first encountered you.
Thanksgiving – We give thanks for all who forgive their enemies.