Tomorrow we begin a series of celebrations of those who suffered bloody martyrdoms for Jesus. Saints Fabian, Sebastian, Agnes, and Vincent followed in Jesus' footsteps, choosing to be killed rather than kill. This weekend we also recall the most disastrous judicial decision in American history, the legalizing of abortion in the United States on January 22, 1973. At this moment, the Lord challenges us to choose life (Dt 30:19-20).
However, to choose life for others we must choose death for ourselves. Jesus chose to die so that we, once His enemies, could live and become His friends (Jn 15:14, 15). We must choose to die to self so others can live, to be transformed from death-dealing to self-dying.
At least half the apostles were into violence, hatred, and murder. Peter attacked Malchus with a sword (Jn 18:10). John and James wanted to burn a city of Samaritans (Lk 9:54). Bartholomew (Nathanael) was a bigot (Jn 1:46). Matthew the tax collector probably used extortion to help him collect taxes. Simon the Zealot was a member of a violent, revolutionary group. (Today we would call them terrorists.) Nonetheless, Jesus changed these violent people. He will change us, if we're willing to die to ourselves and repent, so that others may live.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2006 through January 31, 2007.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006.