November 12, 2016
Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr
3 John 5-8; Ps 112; Luke 18:1-8
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr. St. Josaphat was born in Poland around 1580 and was raised Ukrainian Orthodox. As bishop he worked for the unity of the Church and because of this he was martyred in 1623. St. Josaphat was the first formally canonized saint of the Eastern Rite.
Our first reading is from the very short 3rd Letter of St. John (only 1 chapter). It is addressed to an individual who is praised for his work of supporting Christian missionaries and is encouraged to continue to support them as the scripture said, “Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.” And the author offers one reason why missionaries should be supported as he says, “We ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.” A Christian missionary is one who takes the Gospel to the lost, spreading the Good News of hope. And as the author says, the one who supports the one who goes takes part in the missionary work and the saving of souls. Most of us cannot leave home, job, family to be a missionary but when we support the ones who do by prayers and finances we actually take part in the missionary work as if we were there with them. In this sense we are co-workers in the mission field…St. Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) never left the convent walls yet she is the “patroness of missions” because she offered her life as a prayer for the growth of the Church. We are called also to support the spread of the Gospel by supporting missionary work…But missionary work is also taking place within our own Resurrection community where the Gospel of life is offered daily. We can all take part in this work by supporting it by offering a portion of our time, talent and treasure as good stewards.
The Gospel proclaimed today is one that we heard just a few Sunday’s ago. It is the lesson to be persistent in prayer without becoming weary (loose heart, give up). In the context of today’s message tied to the first reading we are encouraged to support God’s work without becoming weary, without becoming tired or complacent. We are called to support the work of the Kingdom here in our own community as well as the universal Church. Because when we do we are “co-workers of the truth.”