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Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Agnes, V.M., (21st January, 2017) on the Gospel
(Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time (I))

Heb 9:2-3.11-14;
Ps 46:2-3.6-9 (R. v.6);
Mk 3:20-21.

Saint Agnes of Rome was born c. 291 AD in a wealthy Christian family. She was very beautiful. Agnes vowed to God never to stain her purity. As a result she turned all those seeking for her hand in marriage down including Procop, the Governor's son. In great anger he brought her to his father accusing her of being a Christian. Despite all the promises made her by the Governor Agnes did not change her mind. Finally, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young (12 or 13 years old) and beautiful girl going to death. She prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword on 21 January 304.
Saint Agnes is the patron saint of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, gardeners, engaged couples, and the Children of Mary. She is often represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virgin innocence, and a palm branch, like other martyrs[1]. She is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheranism[2].
Topic: Sanity mistaken for Insanity.
Jesus was termed insane in today’s gospel because He and His disciples did not eat. As a result of which His relatives went out to restrain Him.
Jesus came down from heaven, not to do His own will, but the will of He who sent Him, cf. Jn 6:38. And He also said clearly, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work” (Jn 4:34). Based on this, Jesus was seen as insane because He was doing what He came to do.
Christ warns, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). And that whoever does the will of His Father in heaven is His brother, and sister, and mother, cf. Matt 12:50.
One can be Christ’s friend only by doing what He asks of us, cf. Jn 15:14. What He asks of us demands some level of radicalism, cf. Matt 10:34. Again, one must be ready for worse names than the one they gave Jesus among other things, cf. Matt 10:25. Saint Agnes was also misunderstood. Yet she never moved an inch from the will of God. Our consolation is that the reward will be great in heaven, cf. Matt 5:12; 2Cor 4:16-18.
Bible Reading: Matt 10:34-39; Lk 9:57-62.
Thought for today: You can be seen or treated as evil because of Christ.
Let us pray: Lord, give us strong faith to follow you with all our hearts – Amen.
Saint Agnes – Pray for us.

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