Tuesday, September 28, 1999
Tuesday September 28:
Twenty-sixth Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Martyr
Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Husband, Father and Companions, Martyrs
Green or Red vestments
First Reading: Zechariah 8: 20-23
Psalms: Psalm 87: 1-7 or Zechariah 8: 23
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 51-56
SAINT WENCESLAUS, RULER AND MARTYR
Born in 907, Saint Wenceslaus of Prague was the first Slav to be canonized. His canonization was expedited because of his martyrdom at the hands of his brother who was jealous. Their father had died early in their life and they were educated and cared for by their grandmother Saint Ludmilla who also was martyred in a sinister family plot by their own mother who had grown bitter and jealous. At the tender age of 15 Wenceslaus ascended to the throne as king of his country where he ruled with wisdom and concern, stressing God's Will in all things, which angered the pagans of his land who mounted an underground opposition to overthrow him. Even though Wenceslaus knew his mother's heart was not pure, he prayed incessantly for her and would not exile her, hoping she would see the light of God's way. Even though he had all the proof in the world of her involvement in his grandmother's death, he rebuked those who urged him to take revenge with the words, "Why do you want to prevent me from applying the Divine Law of Jesus Christ and to obey His commandments? I reject your advice because I want to serve God with all my heart." A few years later, after Wenceslaus had married and bore a son, the opposition got to his brother Boleslaus who, realizing he was younger and would not be successor to the throne now that Wenceslaus had a heir, became embittered and was easy prey for their machinations. Thus, on September 26 Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to attend Mass with him in celebrating the feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian. However it was a trap to lure Wenceslaus into a secluded area away from his entourage of guards where Boleslaus struck the holy king on the head from behind with his sword. The blow did not immediately kill Wenceslaus who struggled with his own flesh and blood for his very life as blood flowed profusely from his skull, but though the king was stronger, Boleslaus' accomplices lying in wait behind the pillars emerged and thrust their swords into Wenceslaus' back, felling the holy Slav ruler. Three years later his remains were transfered from the cemetary to the church of St. Vitus in Prague where he was greatly venerated and fifty years later the people were openly celebrating with great pomp and circumstance the feast of St. Wenceslaus for he had been so loved and so promoted the Catholic faith that many conversions had taken place.
SAINT LAWRENCE RUIZ, HUSBAND, FATHER AND COMPANION MARTYRS
This feast commemorates the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, a layman and his fifteen companions met their death in Nagasaki in 1637 at the hands of heathen Japanese warriors. Born in China, Lorenzo migrated to the Philippines where he settled in the Chinese section in Manila called Binondo. A father of four children, he was forced to flee with Dominican missionaries, who were enroute to Japan to spread the faith, because he had unjustly been accused of a crime being blackmailed because of his honesty and virtuous life. The companions were composed of all those somehow associated with the Dominicans either as clergy or lay order. Two days after Christmas of 1637 word finally reached Manila that Lorenzo and his Dominican companions had all been slayed. Immediately the people gathered at the church of Santo Domingo to sing a solemn Te Deum in honor of their fallen compadres. These saints were canonized 350 years later by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila on October 18, 1987.