Thursday, March 7, 2013

Memorial of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs

(Jeremiah 7:23-28; Luke 11:14-23)

Today the Church celebrates two illustrious martyrs.  They are African women, Perpetua and Felicity.  Perpetua was a noblewoman who became a Christian.  Felicity was her slave.  During one of the periodic persecutions Perpetua’s father pleaded with her to be, as it were, politically correct and express fidelity to the gods of Rome.  She wouldn’t have had to renounce Christianity only to include the Roman gods in her prayers.  But she would have none of it.  Knowing that expressing dual loyalties in matters of faith is like living in a house divided, she persisted in her Christian belief and was summarily executed.

In today’s gospel Jesus presents what may be called the original “house divided speech.”  He tells his detractors that he cannot cast out demons and still be in Satan’s league.  Rather, his allegiance is to God the King who has empowered him to act in his name.

As Satan cannot rule if people are not aligned with him, we have to make sure that we stand with Jesus.  His humility and compassion move us away from the passing world of sin towards eternal life with God.