OUR PATRON SAINT
Thursday, February 5, is the feast day of St Agatha. A saint from third century Sicily, she is the patron saint of our parish. She is also the patron saint of those who suffer from diseases of the breast. She was chosen for those sufferers because of the mutilation her persecutors inflicted on her. She did not die from these injuries, but was killed a short time later for refusing to renounce her faith.
The Christian martyrs were killed, often in the horrific ways we are witnessing today as terrorists groups seek to impose their will on others. We acknowledge that fear often plays a role in having people comply with an order or rule. Fear of a fine for infringing a traffic rule is a simple example. Capital punishment is used by some countries to bring home as strongly as possible what can happen if you commit certain crimes.
Those who persecuted and still persecute those who believe in Christ use the fear of torture as a way to gain compliance. The Christian martyrs like Agatha were not looking to die as present day suicide bombers do.
Agatha was prepared to die rather than renounce her faith in Christ and the life she lived as a consequence of that faith. Agatha wanted others to come alive in the faith as she did. She would have been horrified at those who committed suicide and intended killing innocent people and perceived enemies in the way they committed suicide. Suicide bombing is no way to worship God. Such people may have strong convictions but are tragically misguided.
We do not know what the eternal fate will be for those who trade in death and brutalisations. We can leave that in the hands of God who gives all of us life and will ask an account of us when we die. The eternal fate of the likes of Agatha is that they continue to deal in life and healing. The saints are in God’s presence interceding continually for those of us still in need of healing.
Agatha is no stranger to breast problems. She is well placed as a go-to person. She has the knowledge and sensitivity born of personal experience. She prays for healing, strength and comfort for those being treated for cancer and other conditions. She would delight in our gathering for Eucharist on Thursday and for the prayers for healing we shall offer next Sunday at all masses.
St Agatha, child of God, pray for us.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Feb 12, 2015
|4th Sunday in Ordinary Time 01.02.2015