Thursday, September 16, 2010

These Saints Deserve Our Attention

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. I must admit these are saints to whom I have not given a lot thought. Today at Mass the priest mentioned that St. Cornelius became pope after a fourteen month vacancy in the papacy because of the Roman persecutions. He mentioned how many Christians were martyred because of their refusal to worship the Roman idols.
As a student of the Old Testament my ears perked up when I heard the word idol. Throughout the prophetic literature we hear about the Israelites' constant struggle with idols, their forgetting who was their God.
In the Book of Jeremiah we hear, "goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols; for their images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion (Jer 19, 14b-15a).
Each age has its idols. Each one of us has his or her own idols, works of delusion, things that satisfy only temporarily. These are constant struggles, perhaps our addictions. For some it's money, for others consumerism, and then, of course, there's food, alcohol, television, computer, and for some, perfection, a true delusion.
Today we are invited to ask ourselves, "who or what is number one in my life?". We might also ask "who or what has my energy"?
What do you think are the most common idols in 2010?
Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian were longtime friends. Both agreed that those who had denied their faith and out of their fear worshipped idols should be forgiven; however, all in the Church were not of the same mind. Perhaps there was resentment among the families of those of those died for their faith, that others should deny the faith and then be readmitted. Pope St. Cornelius held a Synod in Rome in 252 and ordered the relapsed to be restored to the faith with the usual "medicines of repentance."
Idols and forgiveness. Two issues in the 3rd century. Two issues in the 21st century!
I think I'll be paying more attention to these two saints!

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