Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feasts: Saint John Fisher, Martyr, (1469-+1535) Patron Saint of the Diocese of Rochester, & Saint Thomas More, Martyr, (1478-+1535) Patron Saint of Attorneys, Statesmen and Politicians
Book of Genesis 13:2, 5-18, Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5, & Matthew 7:6, 12-14
The Execution of Thomas More by Antoine Caron, circa 1599
I am always intrigued when things happen this way. Many of you who have read my reflections over the years have come to realize that I have a great fondness for world history. Purely by coincidence, I am to offer my humble reflection on this day, the memorial feast of Saint Thomas More and his friend and fellow martyr bishop, Saint John Fisher. Thomas More, both a saintly and historical figure, has long captured my imagination, as well as my admiration, because of the 1966 film classic A Man for All Seasons based on the play by Robert Bolt.
His story is well known. A philosopher, writer, and statesman, Thomas More rose to the height of power and prestige in England's sixteenth-century court of Henry VIII. Refusing to support the monarch's desire to divorce and remarry, which eventually led to the separation of the Church of England from Rome, More fell out of favor and office. In 1535, his act of conscience exacted the ultimate price. Supposedly, his final words before the executioner's ax fell were, "The king's good servant, but God's first."
Thomas More's courage to speak the truth, refusal to go along with what was happening in his country and society, despite the risk to his life and livelihood, represents a challenge facing us in our own families, workplaces, and culture. Just as Saint Thomas More defended the law of God and the Church, today's scripture readings present us with the law to be lived. Therefore, Jesus reminds us, "Do to others, whatever you would have them do to you." Defending this law may not be a matter of life and death, but the challenge can be just as daunting; that is, to stand up and publicly speak from our faith and conscience when remaining silent in the face of injustice would be safer—and so much easier.
When I reflect on my past failures and frailty in this regard, I am nevertheless consoled by knowing that life's journey is never walked alone. Especially during the challenges and difficulties of life, God always accompanies us sustains us with His love.
Question of the Day: Will you display your courage by proclaiming Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer?
Prayer: "I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia, alleluia."