Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Memorial of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr

(I Samuel 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-28)

Tomorrow you may find in the newspaper a picture of Pope Francis with a pair of lambs.  Traditionally Italian farmers present the pope two lambs on today’s feast of St. Agnes.  The name Agnes sounds like agnus, the Latin word for lamb.  Also, St. Agnes died a virgin martyr whose purity is symbolized by the lamb.

Much like David in the first reading today, Agnes was predestined by God to be a martyr.  This will not seem like blessing to those of little faith.  However, Agnes has enjoined eternal life with her Creator and Redeemer.  She is also memorialized throughout the world and has served as a model for adolescents for centuries.

It may be said that youthful idealism enabled Agnes to give her life as a witness to Christ.  Older people, having grown cautious, often are not willing to make such a sacrifice.  On the other hand, by old age we should have cultivated wisdom to do what is right.  What really matters, however, is not our age but God’s predestinating grace.  If He has ordained that we become saints, then it will happen.  Such grace, however, is not fickle. We can pray for it with hope of receiving it.