Saturday, September 26, 2009

SEPTEMBER 26 SAINTS COSMAS AND DAMIAN

Sts. Cosmas and Damian.
Artist and date are UNKNOWN.
SEPTEMBER 26

SAINTS COSMAS AND DAMIAN, MARTYRS
 

Biographical Information about Sts. Cosmas and Damian

Readings for the Memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian [1]

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
Wisdom 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

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Commentary on
Wis 3:1-9

This passage, while frequently used on the feasts of martyrs, can be understood as an early description of the process of achieving a place in the heavenly kingdom by all those who went before us in faith. The flow of this description provides a good picture of the purification of all the faithful that takes place in the transition from life, through purification in Purgatory (“…chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed”), to new life with the Father.

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RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Psalm 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

 R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
 

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
 

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
 

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
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Commentary on
Psalm 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

Psalm 126 is a lament. In this short psalm the singer rejoices at the return of Israel following the Diaspora, the conquering of Israel and its enslavement. In this hymn, the people remember the greatness of God as he restores their nation and brings the people back to their own land ("Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves."). The sense is one of being overflowing with thanksgiving.

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GOSPEL

 Matthew 10:28-:33

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father."

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Commentary on
Matthew 10:28-33

Jesus concludes his instructions to the Apostles as he sends them out. He tells them not to fear the persecution he has told them they will face. This lack of fear should be absent because, while the body may be killed, their souls are safe with him. He concludes this passage telling them that the Father is watching over them and they have nothing to fear.

CCC: Mt 10:28 363, 1034; Mt 10:29-31 305; Mt 10:32-33 1816; Mt 10:32 14, 2145
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Reflection:

The Church remembers Saints Cosmas and Damian on this day. While they dedicated their lives to healing the ills of others and physicians, they considered their own physical lives as being worth nothing when weighed against their souls. When called upon to forsake their faith (during the persecution under Diocletian), thereby avoiding torture and death in the third century, they chose to go together into the next life.

By the grace of God they withstood all manner of torture; torture by water, fire and even the cross; finally being beheaded. Their heroic faith, along with that of their companions drove a stake into the heart of the Evil one and caused the netherworld to shake. True to the word of the Gospel they sought life eternal rather than vainly clinging to this earthly life.

Their example of great faith and fidelity in the face of tremendous obstacles gives us strength to face the trials of this life that challenge our faith and ask that we set aside our beliefs so that we might be more comfortable. On this, their feast day, we pray for the intercession of Saints Cosmas and Damian, may these patrons of surgeons and physicians pray for our spiritual heath and salvation.

Pax


[1] The icon is of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Artist and date are UNKNOWN.
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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