Monday, June 1, 2015
Do what needs to be done: Daily Mass Homily--Monday, June 1st, 2015
(Listen to this homily here).
A common theme between our readings and the celebration of St. Justin Martyr is to do what needs to be done.
The first example comes from the righteous man Tobit. He got in trouble because of his care for the dead. Admittedly, it seems strange to us that he buried multiple bodies he found in his neighborhood—but he did!
To prepare for a feast, Tobit had his son Tobias invite the poor. When Tobias shared the sad news of finding a dead body Tobit said, “I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched; and I carried the dead man from the street and put him in one of the rooms, so that I might bury him after sunset.” He was persecuted for this generosity: “The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another: ‘He is still not afraid! Once before he was hunted down for execution because of this very thing; yet now that he has scarcely escaped, here he is again burying the dead!’”
Tobit knew the right thing to do and did it.
The second example is from St. Justin Martyr. He was a great apologist (defender of the faith), philosopher and martyr. He battled particularly with the Gnostic heresies. Justin condemned erroneous beliefs and practices, staying faithful to Christ even when this cost his life.
St. Justin Martyr knew the right thing to do and did it.
In our relativistic society, the basic mantra is, “What is true for you is true for you…what is true for me is true for me…you do you and I’ll do me.” We talk about dialogue, listening and making sure everyone has a voice. These are not necessarily bad things, bought often all opinions are created equal—any belief may or may not be the right one.
This is not Christian! We are in a privileged position because we have the truth! Yes, we need to meet people where they are, listen to their stories and learn from where they come from. But there are times when we need to draw a line in the sand and stand up for what is true and good. It is okay to say, “This teaching/belief/behavior is wrong.”
To know what is right and do it takes courage. Let’s reflect on men—like Tobit and Justin Martyr—and women who have stood fast to our faith throughout the generations.