There is an inspiring complementarity between today’s gospel in which Jesus sends out the Apostles, two by two, for their first missionary trip around Galilee and the martyrdom of St. Agatha.
The lynch pin which unites these two events is Jesus himself. Both the Apostle and Agatha loved our Lord more than anything else, more than anyone else.
The Apostles had already been traveling with our Lord for more than two years. In His company on a daily basis, they heard his parables and saw his miracles. They walked alongside him on the dusty roads as they went from village to village. They waited and they wondered as He spent long periods of time alone in prayer. They experienced his command of things natural as well as the supernatural.
Jesus instructed his Apostles not to take any money or extra provisions with them. That would teach the 12 both to rely on God to supply their needs and also that there were sacrifices. Jesus’ instruction also provided motivation for them not to stay long in places where their message wasn't received. For in these villages there’d be no welcome at the dinner table or to spend the night.
Jesus knew that His disciples would face the same persecutions He was to encounter. They would be slandered, hated and even killed. In fact, with the exception of Judas and John, all of the Apostles died a martyr's death.
We have the same heroic witness in the life and death of St. Agatha who had given herself exclusively to Christ as his virgin and bride. As such, she developed a fruitful relationship with Jesus.
This friendship grew because of Agatha’s close knowledge of Jesus’ words and her union with him through constant prayer. Agatha’s martyrdom was the final and heroic act of the informed, free and mature choice of Agatha’s virginity. Agatha met her fate with exemplary courage. Her martyrdom illustrates the beauty of belonging to Christ without hesitation.
Legend says St. Agatha died in 251 in the city of Catania, on the island of Sicily at the command of a high-ranking political official who was determined to gratify both his lust and avarice with her.
Agatha was consistent in her choice for Jesus Christ. We, in sanctuary and in the nave, who seek the grace to love our Lord more than anything else, more than anyone else ask for the intercession of both the Apostles and Agatha for the integrity and constancy of such heroic faith.
● Mr. Andy Portka, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
● Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is fighting cancer.
● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.