Reflecting on 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
When I was a young Catholic growing up in the warm parish community of St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, our favorite recess activity was to take our Saints Books out on the playground and horrify each other with the stories of their martyrdoms. I think of that today as we hear that terrifying account of the torture and execution of the seven pious brothers (and their mother) by Antiochus Epiphanes IV around 170 B.C.
I used to know a lot more about how the saints died than how they lived. Their deaths were so dramatic that I forgot to notice the faith statements of their lives.
Lately I’ve been thinking about Canada’s first canonized saint, André Bessette. What a disappointing story. He wasn’t devoured by Roman lions or skinned alive by Syrian emperors. For forty years he just held the door open for people coming into Notre Dame College in Quebec. And after his totally unremarkable death over one million people filed by his casket, weeping for this simple Holy Cross brother who lived his ordinary life with extraordinary love.
I guess that’s who all the saints are: door openers. Something about their lives, and sometimes their deaths, opens a door for us so we can see Jesus more clearly. And on the day of our own deaths Jesus himself will open the door for us, for as today’s Gospel tells us, “he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
What saint, living or dead, opens the door for you to see Jesus?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015