Sep 16 – Memorial for Sts. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr; and Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr
St. Cornelius (d. 253) was elected after a year-and-a-half period, during which persecutions were so bad that papal ascension was a quick death sentence. He worked to maintain unity in a time of schism and apostasy. He called a synod of bishops to confirm him as rightful pontiff, as opposed to the anti-pope Novatian. Cornelius was eventually exiled by Roman authorities to punish Christians in general, who were said to have provoked the gods to send plague against Rome.
St. Cyprian (190-258) was baptised when he was 56. By the time he was bishop, he had been a Christian for only 3 years! When the Roman emperor Decius persecuted Christians, Cyprian lived in hiding, covertly ministering to his flock; his enemies condemned him for being a coward and not standing up for his faith. He supported St. Cornelius against the anti-pope Novatian. He too was exiled and martyred when Decius’ successor continued with persecution of Christians.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Tim 4:12-16
…be an example to the believers…
Today’s readings are rich. We are given many lessons on so many levels, with each familiar line in today’s gospel.
- Jesus dines at the home of a Pharisee
- A sinful woman brings an alabaster flask of ointment
- The sinful woman bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears
- The sinful woman kisses Jesus’ feet
Simon reflects, if Jesus were a prophet, he would know what sort of woman she is. In the parable of the two people in debt, one for 500 days’ wages, one for fifty days’ wages:
- Both are forgiven
- Who will love the creditor more?
- The question is asked, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins’?
- Your faith has saved you; go in peace
I have been in leadership in my career, as well as numerous volunteer positions since I was a teenager. Being the ‘lead dog’, the boss, the one in charge, etc. (no matter the club, job or position) can easily give anyone a ‘high’. Sometimes the high is harmless, but often, it results in thinking too highly, sometimes MUCH too highly, of oneself. I know that I haven’t always been Christ-like and instead, taken advantage of situations and people, simply because I could. Not purposefully choosing to walk away from Christ in the moment, but by nature of not focusing on Christ, I have embraced the secular attitude and action. I wasn’t doing anything unlawful, or even anything that ‘most’ people weren’t also doing. So, compared to most people, I was wonderful. But, as a professed Catholic Christian, I’m not to look towards other people to measure my actions. As a Catholic Christian, I am to look at Christ, and all the saints, to measure my actions so that I can make the righteous (and not the self-righteous) choices. In positions of ‘power’, it is easy to dismiss some people, take some people for granted and even to destroy another’s esteem, confidence, etc by pointing out shortcomings, flaws and mistakes. In today’s global social media world, this pointing out/shaming/bullying behavior has skyrocketed. This behavior is everything that Jesus isn’t – and everything that an honest follower of Jesus strives to not be.
In the last few decades, many leadership books have been written about being a servant leader, with Jesus as the greatest example. Some books are all about succeeding in business in this life, but the higher calling is to be a servant leader NOT to gain a new level of influence, but simply to be more like Jesus. It’s not about who does what for us, who we can get to do what for us, but what we can do to help others — for the sake of Love. That is the mission of a Christian, as it is the mission of Christ. Helping others in this life so that they – we – will be with Christ and all the angels and saints in the next. So, to lead anyone to Christ we must first love, and then, serve. If we truly love, we will serve — just as Jesus did.
Jesus comes to each one of us, exactly where we are, and treats each of us with the highest level of respect and dignity possible. Jesus never ‘lords’ over anyone; the Lord of Lords never ‘lords’ over anyone – He simply loves us as the Good Shepherd that He is.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)
Prayer: Father God, how we desire each day to serve you, by serving those around us with words and actions that fill their needs. We pray that we never look around and see anything less than You in their eyes.
Thanksgiving: Father God, how grateful we are that Jesus came to serve us so that we could see love in action. In EVERY action. Never did He choose a word or action that wasn’t filled with love.