SATURDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF SAINT MARIA GORETTI JULY 6, 20
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 12:24-26 (Optional Memorial Gospel)
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me."
Reflection : “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
I was never a very strong person physically. This proved to be a trial for me one day at elementary school when I tried to ride the merry-go-around. This was a crude playground toy made of bars with nothing to sit upon, only bars to stand on. The ride began by pushing your feet on the ground holding on to the circular bars. As more children joined the effort to have fun, I began to feel the centrifugal force pull on me so that I was losing my grip. I was horrified as my grip slipped from the bars. I could only go under and was very surprised that I wasn’t being crushed by the revolving bars quickly passing inches over me. I was terrified by the close proximity of the merry-go-round over my body and how my screams for help did not seem to be heard. God in His mercy saved me from the fall and I had no thoughts of ever riding it again. God allowed me to be saved from the worldly pleasure, to get up and serve Him.
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
Today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti who died at the hands of Alessandro Serenelli. She died a day after her attack, suffering multiple injuries, in trying to save her virginity. Her slow death gave her time to report her attacker and publicly forgive him. She is known as “The Little Saint of Great Mercy”. Maria was not saved from being attacked, but she was saved from losing eternal life by graces given her by God. This eleven-year old child’s ability to greatly suffer and to remain merciful toward her neighbor, Alessandro, was amazing to all. God’s will of forgiveness did prevail in the horror of this murder. Six years later while serving his prison term, Alessandro had a conversion after he had a vision of Maria picking and giving lilies to him as a message of forgiveness.
Maria Goretti chose to face the attack on her earthly life in order to preserve her life in eternity. As we go through the trials of our life on earth let us pray to always live for eternity, despite the immediate outcomes. May we follow and serve Jesus so that the Father will give us honor.