Hebrews 7:1-3,15-17; Ps 110 You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek; Mark 3:1-6
Yesterday since it was the anniversary of Roe v Wade, the church asked us to offer the mass for gratitude for the gift of life. So we did.
Yesterday was also the feast day of St. Vincent the Martyr, whose celebration we will commence today. We decided to move his feast day celebration here on retreat.
I am pleased with the decision. When we were in Madrid for world youth day, we stopped over in Valencia. We spent several days in VAlencia warming up for our trek to Madrid for the arrival of the Pope and the commencement of the youth day festivities.
While in Valencia, we came across the relics of St. Vincent the Martyr. He was a deacon int he early church and was killed for his faith in the 4th century. You do the math. That was over 1700 years ago.
Behind the Cathedral altar there is a box which contains the arm and hand of St. Vincent, still incorrupt for the most part. It looks like a hand and arm. Pretty amazing.
I remember having the opportunity to preach at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart while in Valencia with about 4 hundred pilgrims from all over the world and i was asked to preach on St. Vincent.
It was a pretty "cool"experience. I remember telling the pilgrims gathered that a martyr simply put is one who refuses to betray love.
They do not choose to die but rather they choose to live for God and in living for God and holding firm to their faith no matter the consequences they honor love in its highest degree.
The refusal to betray love, not our love for God, but rather God's love for us. This is what we celebrate in today's feast.
Martyrdom is the willingness to hold nothing back. Martyrdom can easily be likened to tithing. As you look toward today's first reading, we encounter Abraham apportioning to Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
What about us? How do we give of ourselves? What do we apportion out to God as a sign of our gratitude for him in our life?
Whether we are martyrs or not, we are all asked to give of ourselves as an opportunity to no longer live for ourselves but to live for God.
What say you!