SS CORNELIUS, PP & CYPRIAN, B.M. (Memorial) Red
Cornelius was the 21st Pope elected during the period when persecutions were so bad that papal ascension was often a death sentence. He worked for unity in a time of schism and apostasy. Cornelius fought Novatianism, a heresy that held that the lapsed Christian might not be received again into communion with the Church, and that second marriages were unlawful. He died a martyr in 253.
Cyprian was born into a rich pagan family of Carthage in North Africa in early third century. Soon after converting to Christianity, he was ordained a priest and was chosen against his will as Bishop of Carthage in 249. Cyprian opposed Novatus’ belief that apostates should not be readmitted to the Church. Cyprian believed they should be readmitted but with stringent conditions. He was martyred by beheading on September 258. He is a Latin father of the Church.
First Reading: 1Cor 15:12-20; Psalm: 17. R. v. 15b; Gospel: Lk 8:1-3
SUPPORTING THE MISSIONARY WORK
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
John wished he was a priest. He had applied severally to the seminary but was not admitted. Age was no longer on his side, and so he started the job of shoemaking. Whenever John attended mass, he always wished he was the presiding priest standing on the altar. One day, he asked his priest if he could make his shoes. “I would be glad” Fr. Joe replied. The first day Fr. Joe wore one of the shoes made by John to Mass, John was so glad. After the Mass that day, John said to Fr Joe, “Fr, I may not have succeeded becoming a priest, but my shoes succeeded getting to the altar.”
There is this saying, “Some give to the missions by going and some go to the missions by giving.” The generosity of some devoted women in the gospel of today is a practical example of those who go to the mission by giving. These women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna) who could not go to the cities and villages where Jesus and his twelve apostles went, provided for Jesus and the twelve out of their means to support their missionary work. So the places where these women could not go, their resources would sustain Jesus and his apostles to go there.
We can be missionaries too through our gifts and services. We can do this through our generosity and support to priests and religious and several other missionaries who work in faraway places. The Christian faithful has never failed in this regard. Thanks to them. We are encouraged today not to relent in our support much like these women in the gospel of today. Our resources can also be instruments of evangelisation. Saints Cornelius and Cyprian whom we celebrate today were also missionaries supported by the generosity of the Christian faithful. We celebrate them together because of their joint opposition to the Novatian heresy.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, grant us a generous heart to support the work of the gospel. Amen.