SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER MAY 16, 2020
A reading according to the holy Gospel according to John 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
REFLECTION: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
The fourteenth century gave us a great saint, St. John Nepomucene, whose feast is today. The miracles in his life began when he was a child suffering from a disease. His parents’ prayers for a cure were answered and so they consecrated him to serve God. He became a priest and was known to be a great preacher who changed thousands of lives to follow God. He helped the needy and the poor in settling arguments once he was invited to the court of Wenceslaus IV. He was Queen Johanna’s confessor and advised her to be patient with her cruel husband, King Wenceslaus.
Eventually, King Wenceslaus asked Saint John to tell him the queen’s confession. Despite bribery and terrible torture, St. John refused to break the seal of confession. Therefore, he was sentenced to death by drowning in the Moldua River. A mysterious illumination was reportedly seen in the water at the location of his drowning. Therefore, he is known as the “martyr of the confessional”.
More than 300 years after his death, his grave was opened and his tongue was found incorrupt, though shriveled. He was canonized a few years later and is the patron of Czechoslovakia and Bohemia. He is a saint for confessors and is invoked for protection from slander and floods.
St. John Nepomucene is a great example of one who suffered Christian persecution from the world, because the world does not “keep” the Word of God. He was chosen out of this world to follow Christ and brought the Word to the rich and the poor. This saint endured the cross and gave his life for Christ. Let us pray for our priests that they may follow St. John’s example and not be swayed by the world, regardless of persecution.