Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr
(I Samuel18:6-9.19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12)
Today, as on every January 21, two lambs have been delivered to the bishop of Rome. The lambs’ white color and cuddly wool symbolize innocence, especially meekness. They represent Christ and the fourth century virgin-martyr Agnes whose feast day is today. Agnes is not only considered as pure and gentle as a lamb, but also her name resembles the word for lamb in Latin, agnus.
In today’s gospel Jesus warns the evil spirits not to reveal his identity. He may not be acting meekly, but he does not intend to have himself exalted. He demonstrates the maxim that he constantly preached. He is here to serve, not to be served.
Practicing humility, meekness, and humble service, we will always run against strong natural currents. We have a strong instinct to be recognized for our traits and works. Nevertheless, we are wise not to draw attention to them but to allow them to speak for themselves. Also, when others praise us for them, we are wiser still to acknowledge them as the work of God.