SATURDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME JULY 4, 2020
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 9:14-17
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The Gospel of the Lord
“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
When I was in third grade, my teacher’s first assignment of the day was to write the alphabet letters three times each. This “drill and kill” exercise improved our penmanship and knowledge of alphabet order. Our morning practice was tedious work that grew very tiring by the end of the school year. However, obedience, patience and endurance were the real lessons for the assignment.
Today’s saint was very meticulous in copying church documents. St. Theodore of Cyrene was a bishop when the Church was secretly operating and evangelizing under Emperor Diocletian’s reign. His work was a great asset to the growth of the church and held in high esteem. All this came to an end at the hands of his own son, Leo, who turned his father over to the authorities. In an attempt to destroy the Church, they demanded St. Theodore to hand over the documents. The bishop refused to turn over the church’s documents and sacred writings, so he was beaten and had his tongue cut out. He was left overnight in jail so they could continue his torture the next day. However, in the Lord’s mercy, St. Theodore died before morning.
St. Theodore knew the value of obedience, patience and endurance to follow the bridegroom. His sacrifices in living for God, even under persecution, built up the church. Let us remember the sacrifices we make today, during this pandemic and unrest in the world, will be received by our heavenly Father. May we practice our faith, as St. Theodore, with prayers and fasting to preserve the Church.