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TUESDAY THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME




While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”


REFLECTION

"Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" ..."Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”


St. Apollinaris was a brother to Jesus just as Jesus described in the Gospel. Why? He did the Father's will by spreading the Good News, the Truth.


Today is the Feast Day for St. Apollinaris. St. Apollinaris was a bishop, preacher, writer, apologist, miracle worker, and a martyr during the 2nd Century. He died in 79 AD.

Some say that he was appointed by the apostle, St. Peter, as the first bishop of Ravenna, Italy. He was a good shepherd for the twenty-six years he shepherded his flock.


He defended Christianity to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Many of the soldiers in Aurelius' twelfth legion were Christians and were perishing of thirst. So they prayed on their knees for God to intervene. There was a storm that dropped a torrential rain during the battle and they conquered the Germans. Marcus gave the legion the name of "Thundering Legion." Yet, Aurelius was persecuting Christians. In order to protect his flock, St. Apollinaris interceded for their protection by reminding Marcus Aurelius of God's favor bestowed on him in response to the prayers of the Christians in battle.


Bishop Apollinaris also defended the early church in Italy against the heresies of his time, but the accounts of his work were lost over the centuries. He was an effective apologist.


He was especially gifted in preaching and writing. He made many converts in areas that were mostly pagan, but at great personal risk and cost. Every place he preached, he was either beaten, tortured, and driven out of the outlying cities around Ravenna. He was even exiled to Greece and preached there making many converts where again he was beaten and sent back to Italy. He returned to Ravenna during the rule of Emperor Vespasian. The Emperor had issued a decree to banish all Christians. Apollinaris hid and continued to serve until he was found and was savagely attacked. He only lived seven days after the attack.


His shrine is in the Benedictine Abbey of Classe in Ravenna, where many miracles are credited to him by pilgrims who visited his shrine.


Even today there are some of Jesus' present day followers who are true brothers like St. Apollinaris. They stand up for the Catholic Christian Faith by speaking out the truth even though they suffer persecution by some of the higher ranking clergy, who are Catholic Bishops and Cardinals.


Let us pray for all those priests and lay people who suffer persecution for our Catholic Faith. Join us in praying the PAPA Prayer for Priests and Prayer to the Holy Spirit.


God bless!







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