Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
First Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel,
for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher.
On this account I am suffering these things;
but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed
and am confident that he is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 123:1B-2AB, 2CDEF
R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven.
Behold, as the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
Gospel: Mark 12:18-27
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled.”
Lately, I have been thinking about death so the Gospel reading about the resurrection of the dead touched a chord with me. My father-in-law recently passed away and it has prompted a number of questions from my kids about death. I’ve answered them as best as I could and tried to assure them that although death is unavoidable, it is not something we should fear. They seemed to be satisfied but their questions lingered in my mind. A decade or two ago, I didn’t worry too much about death but lately, especially after my father-in-law’s passing and seeing my own parents getting older, I am reminded that there is a world beyond this earth awaiting us.
Of course I already knew it intellectually but it has taken a deeper meaning, more than mere words. I’ve been reminded that life on earth is short and we should never lose sight that we were made to live with God for all eternity.
When I turn off the computer, put down the phone, shut off Netflix and quiet myself before God and think about eternity, I ask myself what it would be like to face God and review all my actions, words and motives. Will He be pleased with His faithful servant or disappointed that I squandered so many gifts and so much time? I evaluate if and how I’m helping my husband and children draw closer to God. Am I being an instrument of God’s mercy and love to my neighbors, the other parents at my kids’ school, the annoying lady in front of me in the grocery line? How am I sharing the Gospel message with them?
Saint Paul says in the First Reading, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord . . . but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling[.]”
I have to be honest, that makes me squirm because it challenges me to go out of my comfort zone and be open to the Holy Spirit. He gives me daily opportunities to live and share my faith and to accept my daily crosses instead of complaining about them. It reminds me that we have a “holy calling” to live our life a certain way and we should live it with humility but without shame.
Quiet yourself before God. Imagine that you were told that you would die tomorrow. Look at your life. Is there something you wish you had done differently in the past? Or is there someone you wish you would have reached out to? If so, take this as a prompting to make that change or reach out to that person while you are blessed with the opportunity to do so.
Bobbi Rol is a wife, a mama of four and a blogger learning to love God in the midst of dishes, laundry and swinging light sabers. You can find out more about her here.