Sep 19 – Memorial for St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr
St. Januarius (d. 305) was arrested on account of his profession of the Christian religion during persecution of Christians. He was cast into the fiery furnace, through which he passed wholly unharmed. On the following day, along with a number of fellow martyrs, he was exposed to the fury of wild beasts, which laid themselves down in tame submission at his feet.
Timotheus, the governor who pronounced the sentence of death upon Januarius, was struck with blindness but was immediately healed by the powerful intercession of the saint, a miracle which converted nearly five thousand men on the spot. The ungrateful judge, only roused to further fury by these occurrences, caused the execution of Januarius by the sword to be forthwith carried out. The body was ultimately removed by the inhabitants of Naples to that city, where the relic became very famous for its miracles.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49
“Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life…”
It brought a smile to my face when I first read today’s first reading. I imagined Paul to be irritated by the many silly and inept questions which had little to do with what truly matters. I imagined him to be a straightforward speaking man who is unafraid of social backlash and call it what it is. He is blunt enough to admonish them by saying they are stupid questions. I appreciate people like Paul, who speak the truth without hesitation.
In all seriousness, Paul has a good point in multiple aspects. First of all, what dies and comes back to life is not one and the same. It is the same in some aspects, but not all. All gardeners and non-gardeners alike know that when a seed is planted, it must ‘die’, split open or germinate so that whatever was planted may grow and bear fruit. The seed that died, came back to life in another form – a plant.
Although we don’t know for sure what happens when we die, what we do know is both symbolic and factual. Our bodies will die, but when we come back to life, our souls will be with heavenly bodies. In another sense, when we are baptized in Christ, we are ‘reborn’ and become a new creation. We must die to our old sinful ways, in order to germinate and grow by the grace of God to obtain new life and become fruitful. Not only does a seed need to ‘die’ in order to germinate, it also needs the right conditions — water, sunlight, and rich soil. Just like the seed, we also require the right conditions; not only do we need to ‘die’ to our sins, but we need the grace of God — faith, prayers and charity — to become a fruitful Christian that is deserving to be in God’s eternal garden.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to heed Your warnings. Grant us the grace to grow spiritually, like the seed that blossoms in the rich soil of faith, hope and charity.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you giving us Jesus, for the baptism in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, for forgiving our past and giving us new life.