Memorial of St. Justin, martyr
(I Peter 4:7-13; Mark 11:11-26)
The title “Good Samaritan” will always belong primarily to the protagonist of Jesus’ parable. But many others have earned the distinction through the ages. Perhaps none, however, have a claim on it as unique as St. Justin’s. Born in Samaria with a hunger for truth, he converted to Christianity. In it he found an integrity to satisfy his need. He died a martyr after being given the choice of worshipping idols or being executed. Justin’s life conforms to the admonitions in today’s first reading.
Peter’s letter warns its readers to be “serious and sober-minded.” Nothing is to interfere with their attention to God and their love of neighbor. It also mentions a “trial by fire” for peace-loving Christians. Even though they exhibit exemplary behavior, they will not escape the world’s envy or its contempt.
In an election year we must remain vigilant. There are many issues on which we are to evaluate candidates. We may be scorned for not giving central importance to bread and butter questions like the economy. We may be criticized for not indiscriminately wanting to “send a message” to the president. Like Justin, however, we search for truth in Christ and live accordingly.