Saints for the day: First Martyrs of the Church of Rome (Died 68 AD)
Amos 7:10-17 – Psalm 19 – Matthew 9:1-8
“The souls of the Saints are rejoicing in heaven, the Saints who followed the footsteps of Christ, and since for love of him they shed their blood, they now exult with Christ for ever.” (Today’s Entrance Antiphon)
Today the Church remembers the first martyrs of the Church of Rome which is fixed to a calendar date of June 30th. The selected scriptures, however, are taken from Thursday in the 13th week of the Church Year so they may, or may not, give us an easy link to our celebration of the Holy Eucharist. However, I always look to the Holy Gospel that the Church gives for the weekday celebrations and see if there is some natural connection that would help us get a clearer image of what it means to follow Jesus. Today’s Holy Gospel from Matthew gives us the healing of the paralytic up against a rather obscure passage from the Old Testament book of Amos which focuses on what it takes to be a prophet.
Then there’s the feast day of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome whom all seem to have died in a fire that was probably set by Nero. As often happens, it’s the Responsorial Psalm that gives us the clearest link to our seeing what the Lord wants us to hear. Take a moment to go back and read through that passage from Psalm 19. “The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.” But then you can go down through the verses where you read: “…the law of the Lord is perfect … refreshing … trustworthy … wise … right … rejoicing the heart …. Clear … pure … enduring… true … precious … sweeter than honey. That pretty much covers all the bases when it comes to how the Lord deals with us. In the Gospel account of the healing of the paralytic Jesus responds to the locals saying, it is right to do good rather than evil which is the key to today’s scriptures. Bottom line: I always tell people who have questions about what is done in the name of the Lord to just look back and see if those words that I highlighted above from today’s Responsorial Psalm are what you see after have preached of done something in Jesus’ name. Lots to think about today. Amen!