Tuesday, January 20, 2009
St. Fabian and St. Sebastian
Today celebrates two early saints: St. Fabian and St. Sebastian. Fabian was elected Pope as a layman! It seems that a dove descended on his head and that was seen as a diving sign. He reigned for fourteen years and died a martyr in the persecution of 250.
St. Sebastian was also martyred in Rome around the year 300. St. Ambrose tells us that Sebastian was from Milan, but we really know little about him. He is buried in the catacombs.
In Mark's Gospel today, Jesus is passing through a field of grain on the Sabbath; his disciples began to pick the heads of grain. When the Pharisees criticized them, Jesus defends them. He reminds them of David and companions who ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat. Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath."
Jesus kept the law but with a free spirit. He is always showing the Pharisees that they are keeping the letter but not the spirit of the law.
It is an important day for us in the United States and maybe it is also an important day for the rest of the world. May our new President govern with wisdom and justice and charity for all.