Friday, June 1, 2018
Jun 1 - St. Justin, Martyr
+ St. Justin, whose memorial we celebrate today, is a very important second century saint. At this time in history of the Roman Empire, and Church history, what was hoped to be an experiment gone awry had staying power. The Romans knew they had a formidable foe in the new Church of Rome, the Catholic Church in its infancy. But though an infant chronologically, the Church was a fierce opponent to the world and its ways, a fierce opponent to the ways of the Emperors who thought themselves to be gods among a great many gods in the pagan pantheon.
It was such a pagan who converted to Christianity at age 30 by reading the Scriptures and witnessing firsthand the heroism and faith of the first martyrs of the Church. These things impressed Justin of Samaria very much. Justin was born to wealthy Greek parents, was well educated and a student of many philosophies. But coming to full maturity he knew that the only true philosophy was the Christian one: he believed that the word of truth came to all people, but that it resided fully in Jesus Christ who was the very essence of the Church of Rome! And so, with his keen mind, deep faith, and oratorical skills, Justin became one of the first apologists of the faith: an explainer and defender, using words both written and spoken!
The cross of Christ – which Justin preached and taught – was a great threat to Rome – the victory of a dead man, who is still alive – was too much for them to comprehend – but this did not deter Justin from doing what he was called to do: to stand up for the faith, stand up for Christ, stand up for the Church.
We are called to do the same – especially with the repaganization of society that is unfolding in our world every day. Especially when the wiles and cunning deceptive machinations of the Evil One are seen on the world stage, even our own national government. We must let our lights shine – the light of faith – so that the elected representatives in Washington, and indeed the entire world can see: and so that we all may give glory to our Father in heaven! – and a kingdom of justice, peace and love will firmly take root on the earth, as it is destined to, eventually.
Time and circumstances would lead to the Roman authorities’ attempts to silence Justin – as a threat to the supremacy of the Empire – and so in 165 he was beheaded in Rome. I ask you this question: how far are we willing to go to “stand up” for our faith in the Person of Jesus Christ – God’s only Son, our Lord, our Brother and our Friend?
Justin is considered then above all a great martyr and the first great Christian philosopher.
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