Sep 28 – Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs
St. Wenceslaus (907-929) was the son of Vratislav I, Duke of Bohemia, whose family had been converted by St. Cyril and St. Methodius, and Drahomira, daughter of a pagan chief, who was baptised on her wedding day but apparently never seriously took to the faith. He was the grandson and student of St. Ludmilla.
When his father was killed during a pagan backlash against Christianity, Wenceslaus ascended to power as the Duke of Bohemia and fought the pagans with prayer and patience. He was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus, at the door of a church. Though he was killed for political reasons, he is normally listed as a martyr since the politics arose from his faith. Miracles have been reported at his tomb, and he is the subject of the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas.
- Patron Saint Index
…the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.
Today’s Gospel is very short and seems a little oddly placed. But when we delve a little deeper, there is a wealth of information that we may have missed at first glance.
First of all, Jesus is heading to Jerusalem, by way of Samaria. That in itself, is quite significant. Jerusalem is a place of offering, of sacrifice. Christ is heading to Jerusalem to offer Himself as the final sacrifice for all of us. Secondly, Jesus is going to Jerusalem via Samaria, which is indeed very strange. In those times, although Samarians were of partial Jewish heritage, they did not adhere to Judaism perfectly. Hence, they were despised by the Jews, and the feeling was probably mutual. During those times, Jews would rather go around Samaria in their travels instead of going through, even if it meant a longer travelling time and distance.
So it is no wonder that the Samarians did not want to receive Jesus in His travels. Hardly surprising then, is the strong reaction of the disciples, wanting to rain down fire to destroy the Samarian village. How fitting, and how comforting is our Lord’s reaction! Instead of consenting to the punishment, Jesus rebuked His disciples and went on to another village.
In my self-reflections, I often struggle with the thought that I keep repeating the same offenses and thereby rejecting our Lord and all His teachings. It has occurred to me that I am more than deserving of the ‘fire rained down from heaven’ as punishment for some of the things that I have done again and again. But when I read this passage, I realize the depth of love and mercy that Jesus has for me, for you, for all of us.
Despite being rejected outright, Jesus did not get angry and did not seek justice nor revenge. He simply went along His way to offer himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the Jews, for the Samarians, for all peoples. This depth of mercy and love is beyond our human understanding and I, for one, simply cannot fathom the inexhaustible compassion that Christ has for us all. Brothers and sisters, while we may not be able to comprehend the mystery of Divine Mercy, let us be eternally grateful and thankful for the limitless love and mercy that belongs to our God.
God is good! Amen!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to never reject You and grant us the grace to welcome You in every aspect of our lives. We are so in need of Your love and mercy.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your infinite compassion, Your inexhaustible love and mercy.