Memorial of Saint Boniface, bishop and martyr
(Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11b-19)
In today’s first reading St. Paul is on his way to Jerusalem where he senses trouble awaiting. He has called the presbyters of Ephesus together for a final exhortation. He warns them about false prophets who will try to lead astray their congregants. The life of today’s patron exemplifies Paul’s care about true teaching. Also like Paul, St. Boniface died giving testimony to the faith.
Boniface was a British monk eager to preach in Germany, a missionary land. Once there within a span of just twenty years he converted different pagan peoples and established the Church. Rather than retire in one of the monasteries he founded, Boniface returned to the missions. He was killed while reconverting a tribe of Germans that had lapsed into pagan practices.
Our times have seen many unorthodox ideas gain followings. Recently a former priest, discontent with the teaching of the Church on sexual ethics, wrote an article in a leading magazine calling for the abolition of the priesthood. It is doubtful that the idea will take root, but it does erode people’s faith. As much as at any time in history, we need men and women like Boniface who will testify to the truth.