Memorial of Saint Paul Mike and Companions, martyrs
(Genesis 1:1-19; Mark 6:53-56)
The recent motion picture Silence infuses some drama into today’s commemoration of saints. The movie shows lay Japanese Christians giving their lives as martyrs of Christ. Meanwhile European missionaries agonize over whether they should collude with the executioners to stop the torture. Those who died for Christ are the real heroes of the story. They are virtually the same as Paul Miki and Companions.
Today’s gospel indicates why people sacrifice their very lives for Christ. It shows him tirelessly blessing and healing the sick who come to him. Especially Mark’s gospel relates Jesus as God’s emissary capable of curing the most traumatic of diseases.
We are all sick in one way or another. Some of us deal with serious ailments. They turn to Jesus for spiritual support as well as physical healing. They need him to trust in God’s Providence, to follow their doctors’ prescriptions, and to mend broken relations. Others among us are in more dire need although they do not suffer acute physical distress. They are sick with self-absorption. They and the rest of us should look to Jesus as a model of living – humble, helpful, and thankful.