SIR 48: 1-4, 9-11
PS 80: 2AC AND 3B, 15-16, 18-19
MT 17: 9A, 10-13
Today, we celebrate the Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr. St. Lucy died a martyr- a victim of persecution in the Early Church. Her bravery, courage, and faith gave witness to God. She so loved God that she refused to deny His very existence and suffered execution and even the gouging of her eyes.
Upon reflecting on the great witness and sacrifice of St. Lucy, I can’t help but notice the connection with today’s readings. As Christians, we are called “to prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Luke 3:4). I must admit: this is no easy feat. It’s the type of the stuff that makes saints! We hear so much about them: Mother Theresa, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Lucy, and even the Prophet Elijah. We are called to be saints, to be like St. Lucy and give witness to the glory and love of God- that is to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths. However, I often feel so weak. I feel as if I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders- especially during final exam season. Like so many, I have numerous responsibilities, difficult decisions to make, pains and struggles, and even regrets. It really is not easy to be a Christian; much sacrifice is required.
Even so, there must be a way for us- common folk and sinner- to prepare the way of the Lord. First and foremost, it begins with a conversion- an internal transformation and reordering of self to God. We must realize that we need God! We cannot do solve the world’s problems or do everything alone. The weight of our burdens are only lifted in Christ alone! Second, we must acknowledge that we need each other. This makes me think of the South African proverb, “I am because you are.” Our humanity is tied to one another. We must work together, love and serve one another, and humbly- hand-in-hand- before God. Next, we must work to end all injustice, inequality, and evil- to make straight the paths of the Lord. The first reading tells us that the prophet Elijah was “destined … to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and re-establish the tribes of Jacob” (Sirach 48:10). As baptized priests, prophets, and kings, we share in this commission of Elijah. We must work for justice, peace, and righteousness. We must stand up for what we believe even if it means persecution, bitter hated, and dissent, much like the example of St. Lucy and even the prophet Elijah. We are not all called to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi, but we can certainly change the world for the better through small, more practical steps.
Today, let us turn to Christ to ask for his healing in our lives, families, and our world; to help us life the weight of crosses and burdens. As we long for and await the coming of Christ, let us pray for strength, hope, faith, and love much like St. Lucy.
Richard Joubert is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in Theological Studies and minoring in both Political Science and Catholic Studies. Outside of the classroom, Richard serves as a Billiken Peer Educator, CMM 193 peer instructor, member of Greek Life, and passionate Billikens fan.