ST JUSTIN, M. (Memorial) Red

He was born of pagan Greek parents in Samaria around 100AD. He read rhetoric, poetry and history and studied various schools of philosophy. At Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs and converted to Christianity. He opened a school of Christian philosophy and was arrested with the charge of practicing an unauthorised religion. He refused to renounce Christianity and was beheaded along with six of his students one of which was a woman.

First Reading: Acts 20:28-38; Psalm: 68. R. v. 33a; Gospel: Jn 17:11b-19



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“I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one” (Jn 17:15).

Some of us strive for righteous living amidst the distractions in our world today by retreating, praying, fasting, choosing our friends, and isolating ourselves completely from those we classify as “bad” people. We live as though once we mingle or interact with certain people or share a meal with a heathen, we become foul and unholy. This life of escapism that builds a bulwark between us and others because of their religion or way of life is unchristian. A true Christian should not get frightened by worldly realities. We live in the world to face it and to change it. But this becomes impossible to do when we play the escapist.

Listen to this prayer of Jesus for his disciples: “Father, I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.” Here, Jesus prayed to the Father to grant his disciples the grace to conquer the influences of evil as they disseminate the gospel and not for them to run away from the challenges of the faith; if not, they would practically achieve nothing new. St Paul, in the first reading warned the elders of the Church of Ephesus of wolves that would arise to scatter the flock of Christ at his departure. This admonishment was not for them to run away from these wolves but to be alert to face them. Finally, he commended them to God for protection just as Jesus did for his disciples.

Our humanness shouldn’t scare our spirituality. Just as the body though in conflict with the spirit is not separated from it as long as we exist on earth, so should we not practice our spirituality as if to say we are not humans. By our very nature as humans, we are gregarious and reasonable. So when we allow our spirituality to put a knife on our gregariousness, we become separated from the world we are called to change. God wants us to be humanly spiritual. To be holy yet human. Christ remains our perfect model. He did not dissociate himself from the people of the world he was called to serve and save. So let us be all-inclusive in loving and relating with people. Succinctly, we are called to live in the world but not for the world.


Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to be holy yet human. Amen.


  1. Stella MacCallum

    Good morning Fr Val, indeed we strive to live in this world but not for the world! How we desperately need God’s grace daily, to accomplish this to God’s Glory.
    Thank you for this deep reflection of today’s Word and the life of St Justin the Martyr.
    God needs you Fr Val 🙏

  2. Mmuso Nteso

    Indeed. We choose to escape rather than facing our challenges in this world. Thinking we will be regarded as true Christians by diassociating ourself from those we regard as enemies, actually makes us non-christians.

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