Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr
(I Timothy 1:1-3.6-12; Mark 12:18-27)
Justin, whose surname is apparently unknown, studied philosophy as a young man. Then he read the Scriptures which changed the course of his life. He came to Rome where he was brought before the prefect for being a Christian. There he began a discourse to convince the Roman of the validity of his faith but was ignored. He and six others were summarily beheaded for not offering sacrifices to idols. Justin certainly typifies the kind of spirit that the first reading today exhorts.
The passage is taken from the First Letter to Timothy. It sees the addressee, a young pastor, as so burdened by responsibilities that he cannot offer clear testimony of faith. It advises Timothy to be strong. “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control,” it says. These are words for all Christians.
We too should proclaim our faith openly. We can express our thanks to God for who we are. We can offer to pray for those whose needs are beyond our means. We can say how we have been enriched by the gospel. No one, at least in our society, will behead us for such statements. But some may become interested in knowing the Lord Jesus as well.