24th Week in Ordinary Time – Cornelius & Cyprian
1st Reading: 1 Cor 15:12-20
Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Gospel: Lk 8:1-3
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
OUR HOPE IN CHRIST: On this day we celebrate the Memoria of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, who boldly defended the faith and are venerated as martyrs, we listen to St Paul’s defense of our hope in the resurrection founded on the resurrection of Christ; If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. Sent on exile by Gallus, Cornelius (pope) endured severe hardship while Cyprian (bishop) on the other hand, was martyred during the persecutions of the emperor Valerian on September 14, 258. Their testimony looked towards the hope in life after death. By his passion, death and resurrection, Christ has opened the door for us to share in the glory of the Father. Preoccupation with the things of this life at times could make us lose sight of eternal glory. Constant awareness of life and glory with Christ enhances our readiness for bold witnessing.
Prayer: Lord, teach us and help us to always remember the place of the cross on our journey to eternal life.
THE MISSION OF JESUS: Jesus in on His ministry to towns and villages, preaching about the Kingdom of God. We see Him accompanied by His disciples, men and women. They want to imitate and participate in His ministry and that is why they follow. Jesus values women as they offer their services. He allows them to witness his passion and death, and privileges them to be first witnesses in his resurrection. To imitate Jesus is to walk in His footsteps and to teach His Word. That is why Timothy in the first reading warns those who teach anything different and that is contrary to the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to imitate Christ and to teach what is not contrary with what He taught us.
TRUE WOMEN FOLLOWERS OF JESUS TODAY: Maggy Barankitse of Burundi was adopted daughter of Justine, because her father and other members of her family were killed in genocide. She expressed her wish to the foster father that she would like to visit her family’s killer, and would forgive him. She made an incredible choice in her life. She asked the unbelieving man who killed her family to be her father. He agreed and together they rebuilt her father’s house. When the man got ill, Justine took care of him, and she bitterly wept at his death and arranged flowers for his funeral. But, the man’s dying words to Maggy are even more touching: Thank you, Maggy, because now I die like a human person, not like a killer. Your forgiveness gave me back hope, love, and life.” Many women followed Jesus and accompanied Jesus by providing what they had with them. Many women in Africa still follow Jesus and His values of love, forgiveness and service.