24 Apr – Memorial for St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest & martyr
St. Fidelis Sigmaringen (1577-1622) was a lawyer and teacher of philosophy. Disgusted by the greed, corruption, and lack of interest in justice by his fellow lawyers, Mark Rey abandoned the law, became a priest and a Franciscan friar with his brother George. He changed his name to Fidelis and gave away his worldly wealth to poor people in general, and poor seminarians in particular. He served his friary as guardian and worked in epidemics, especially healing soldiers. He led a group of Capuchins to preach to Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. The success of this work, and lack of violence suffered by mission was attributed to Fidelis spending his nights in prayer. He was, however, eventually martyred for his preaching.
“Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.” — St. Fidelis
“The words I have spoken to you are spirit…”
Some time back, a couple of friends and I surveyed a number of Catholics on their reasons for attending mass. A range of responses were given, from spending time with the Lord, to worshipping with a community, and also accompanying family members to church.
Today’s gospel reading sees Jesus at the end of His famous bread of life discourse. The discourse comes after Jesus fed the five thousand and was seen to walk on water. Despite all the miraculous works they had witnessed or heard about, a large number of his followers left him after hearing Jesus’ response to their request for the bread that comes down from heaven. They could not accept his claim that he came from heaven, and worse, the invitation to eat his flesh and drink his blood. After they left, Jesus had the opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings about his eucharistic teaching to his remaining followers, but he did not do that. This absence of clarification is significant in its indication that Jesus truly meant for his flesh and blood to be consumed.
Brothers and sisters, the Church has sustained this doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist for over two millennia. After receiving the body and blood of Christ during mass, the faithful are considered to be better formed to transform the world. It is not just about the quiet time with the Lord, or communion with other members of the church, but to go forth and fulfil our mission to radiate the life and peace of Christ to others.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can better live out our mission to bring Christ to the world.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the times when our inner transformation led others to know Christ.