February 5, 1998

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vol. 9
no. 26

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GOSPEL Reading and Reflections for the Mass of the day

THURSDAY, February 5, 1998

Thursday, February 5:
Feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

      First Reading: 1 Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12
      Responsorial Psalm: 1 Chronicles 29: 10-12
      Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 7-13

Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
St. Agatha      The virgin martyr Saint Agatha was born in Sicily into a rich and noble family. Her parents consecrated her to the Trinity before she was born as a result of the promise from God that she would indeed be born despite incredible odds. As she grew into the flower of her teens, the beauty of her soul was somewhat overshadowed by her physical attractiveness which drew raves throughout Sicily; so much so that Quintanus, governor of Sicily under the Emperor Decius, enforced laws against the Christians as a pretext for seducing this beautiful flower of God. Praying for purity and the fortitude to withstand his advances, she prevailed, much to Quintanus' wrath who ordered vile mutilations on this faithful virgin who bore all for the love of her one true Love - Jesus Christ. Having cut off her breasts, they were miraculously healed when Our Lord sent Saint Peter to heal her. So incensed was Quintanus that he stripped her and subjected her to cruel humiliation, rolling her naked through the streets and over broken shards before her Spouse heard her pleas and called her Home. In testimony to her purity, it is believed that her body is still incorrupt and her intercessory prayer has proved victorious for many young women subjected to sexual harassment. She was truly a temple of the Holy Spirit.

FRIDAY, February 6, 1998

Friday, February 6:
Feast of Saint Paul Miki, Missionary, and companions, Martyr

      First Reading: Sirach 47: 2-11
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18: 31, 47, 50-51
      Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 14-29

Saint Paul Miki, Missionary, and companions, Martyrs
      Like His Savior Jesus Christ, Japanese-born Saint Paul Miki, a Jesuit catechist, was crucified at the age of 33 with 25 other Catholics near Nagasaki, Japan at the hands of ruthless Samurai warriors. Along with two other catechists, six Franciscan priests from Spain, Mexico and India, and 17 lay Catholics from Japan, St. Paul Miki had sought to convert the people of Japan. Fearing the pagan influence and Samurai power would be harmed, some of the Samurai leaders riled up their fellow tribesman and captured the 26 missionaries on February 5, 1897, stringing them up on crude crosses by ropes and chains. As if this wasn't harsh enough, they were then murdered by the quick slash of the sword or the thrust of a sharp lance. Pope Gregory XVI canonized all 26 in 1862 and their martyrdom is commemorated on February 6th.

    February 5, 1998 volume 9, no. 26     LITURGY

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