Monday, September 28, 2009

SEPTEMBER 28 SAINT WENCESLAUS

"St. Wenceslaus"
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
SEPTEMBER 28

SAINT WENCESLAUS, MARTYR


Biographical Information about St. Wenceslaus [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Wenceslaus

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING

1 Peter 3:14-17

Beloved:
Even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you.
Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them,
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

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Commentary on
1 Pt 3:14-17

St. Peter exhorts the churches to which his letter is addressed to be courageous in their faith and to be fearless in the face of persecution. If they are attacked and suffer because of doing what is right, they are blessed (see also
Matthew 5:10-11 and Isaiah 59:9) and need only keep the hope of Jesus alive and holy in their hearts. Their attackers will be shamed in such actions because they do evil to the innocents.

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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
Ps 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 10:34-39

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set

a man 'against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.'

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
 

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Commentary on
Mt 10:34-39

The final remarks of Jesus to the Apostles as they go out to preach and heal are given in this passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel. He reminds them that even though the word they spread reflects God’s love, they will be received badly by many, dividing households and families.

He goes on to tell them that those who will fully accept him and his word will undergo persecution because of him and, even if they loose their lives on His account, they will be saved. The reward given to those who accept this word and follow in his way will be great in heaven.

This discourse, recalled many years after Christ’s death and resurrection has the advantage of seeing the persecution of those who spread the word in the early Church and embodies a fuller understanding of the meaning of Christ’s teaching.

CCC: Mt 10:37 2232; Mt 10:38 1506
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Reflection:

Nowhere is the truth of the Gospel message from St. Matthew better exemplified than in the lives of saints, especially in the life of St. Wenceslaus whose memorial we celebrate today. The Gospel values of love for one another and love of God above all else fly in the face of governmental power seekers. They find this commandment of the Lord to go against all they stand for and poor St. Wenceslaus found this to be true, forfeiting his life as a consequence.

Often in the prayers of the faithful we ask that governmental leaders serve the people they govern with justice and charity. In the case of St. Wenceslaus, this is what he did. His heroic virtue in the face of powerful self-serving opponents ultimately cost him his life but won him the martyr’s crown and a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. As St. Peter tells his congregation in his first letter, those who persecuted him were shamed and later called to account for their deeds.

When we recall the great deeds of the Saints, they place into perspective the relatively mild opposition we face in our daily lives. We hear of the great tribulations they faced fearlessly and are emboldened to stand against those who would deny the Lamb of God and crush the poor in spirit. May we too follow in the steps of St. Wenceslaus and all the martyrs who gave their lives so the Name of Jesus might be heard around the world.

Pax


[1] The Icon of St. Wenceslaus is in the public domain. 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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