Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr
(Tobit 1:3.2:1a-8; Mark 12:1-12)
St. Justin was martyred not so much for what he believed as for failing to pay homage to the Roman gods. The Romans of the second century were not fanatical. They did not insist that Christians not worship their God only that they bow to the national deities as well. It is roughly similar to the situation that many experience today in the United States. If one wants to go to church, fine. But the reigning culture insists that the person acknowledges the cultural idol of sexual libertarianism. Justin believed that there is but one God and even lip-service to others was a lie which he would not stomach. Today’s first reading begins the story of Tobit, another man whose religious principles put him at odds with the authorities.
Tobit takes to heart the biblical injunction to bury the dead. Evidently it is a crime to be so diligent in ancient Nineveh as Tobit’s neighbors say that he was hunted down before for doing. But Tobit, a righteous man, follows his conscience.
Intelligent people have prophesized that the Church will be persecuted for its opposition to gay marriage. We should prepare ourselves for this eventuality first by understanding the issue, especially the Catholic moral perspective. Then we should pray that sexual licentiousness does not undermine the moral fiber of Western civilization and that we remain faithful to the truth and forgiving of our persecutors.