24th Friday in ordinary time, Feast of St. Cornelius, Pope, and St Cyprian, Bishop,
September 16, 2022
1 Cor 15:12-20; Ps 17:1abcd, 6-8, 15; Lk 8:1-3; optional: 2 Cor 4:7-15; Jn 17:11b-19
Being a Christian in the early days of the Church does not sound like fun. In fact, the more I read about early Christian life, the more horrifying it becomes. St. Cornelius, Pope, and St. Cyprian, Bishop, whose feast day we celebrate today, fought tirelessly for all the Christians and more importantly, for the truth of our faith. They live in the early to mid-200s A.D. (around 200-258 A.D.) and were influential combating many heresies. One area that was especially problematic was the area of allowing lapsed Christians back into the fold. Both Cornelius and Cyprian battled against the Novatians who thought lapsed Christians could be brought back into the Church without any consequences. While this was all going on, Emperor Valerian was persecuting the Christians to the fullest extent. St. Cyprian wrote many articles on the Christian faith and one of his most important one was about the lapsed Christians and how they should be readmitted to the faith. Both St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian were martyred by Valerian around 258 A.D..
Depending on which readings you read or heard today, you will get a similar message from St. Paul, and if you read the optional Gospel, a prayer from Jesus to His father about His concerns for us, His disciples. Jesus knew the path of a Christian was going to be tough, so much so that He even prays for us to hear the truth and stick to the truth. St. Paul, in the daily first reading, reminds us that unless Christ died, and rose again, our faith would be nothing. It is through Christ’s resurrection that our faith remains strong, and the truth is born.
We may think life is tough now, but looking back at the early Christians, our life is a cakewalk compared to theirs. Nevertheless, Jesus still provides for us over 2,000 years later. As long as we believe in the truth, the truth that He died for us and was raised from the dead, our faith will remain strong. As Jesus said, we do not belong to this world, any more that Jesus does. Our world is the heavenly kingdom that is waiting for us. Thank you Lord for those who have gone before us to lay down their lives for the truth, so we can live. Especially St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian, please pray for us!