Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest

(Hebrews 12:1-4; Mark 5:21-43)

Are the “Hebrews” of today’s first reading undergoing persecution?  Or are they just tired from waiting for Christ’s coming?  The text speaks of a “struggle against sin,” but it does not specify what kind of sin.  Perhaps it is referring to the Roman Empire’s banning Christianity which pressured some to give up the faith.  It is  also possible that some Hebrew Christians were still expecting an imminent return while others were beginning to believe the whole idea preposterous.

In any case the reading reminds the people that great men and women of the past.  This “cloud of witnesses” endured more persecution and had to wait longer that they have had.  These are the saints of the Old Testament: Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  They kept the faith, and in the end were rewarded beyond their dreams.

We too enjoy a “cloud of witnesses” to assure us that our faith is not in vain.  Most of us have vibrant memory of Saints Mother Theresa and John Paul II.  We also can take note of St. John Bosco whose feast we celebrate today.  He was, Americans might say, the Fr. Flanagan original.  He believed that there is no such thing as a bad child.  He urged his followers to show patience and love for children.  He should encourage especially parents and teachers to endure the trials which children often bring.