FRIDAY, MEMORIAL OF SAINT AGATHA, VIRGIN & MARTYR
Heb 13: 1-8
Ps 27: 1,3,5,8-9
Mk 6: 14-29
TRANSCENDING OURSELVES THROUGH PRAYER
Today’s readings portray the contrast between the lives of a praying Christian and of an unbeliever. In the gospel, King Herod is an unbeliever and a man entangled in the web of endless passions and desires, which result in his spiritual death. His thoughts reveal his fear, guilt and selfishness. The result of this is the death of an innocent man, John the Baptist.
In contrast, the first reading exhorts the followers of Christ, on the fruits of a life of prayer. In prayer, we come to understand the loving care of the Father. On this solid foundation of his love, our life is secure; we learn to trust and have no fear. The outcome of genuine prayer is not so much answered petitions as it is a good life, a witness which gives glory to God. Christian prayer affects the individual as well as the entire community. In this light, the exhortations can be classified as follows:
- Self-Transcendence: Inordinate desires and passions result in a disorientation within the human person. Through prayer, we learn to live by faith and God’s grace helps us overcome these inclinations. God’s kingdom is realised in our life and we are content.
- Communion of love: Through prayer, we see God’s image in our neighbours that helps us love them and intercede for them. We are committed in our service to the authorities and faithful to our families. We are also concerned for those suffering in physical bondages as well as spiritual bondages of sinful vices. There flourishes within us an attitude of self-giving.
Thus, we feel more integrated within and fully alive in loving communion with our brethren, which provides us with a foretaste of heaven. However, this ideal will be realised only after much interior struggle aided by God’s grace through prayer. St Agatha is a perfect model of self-transcendence. Even in the face of a brutal death, she had no fear as her gaze was on God and his eternal kingdom.
Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is my light and salvation.
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