The WORD in Other Words by Fr Florencio Lagura SVD (USA)
Monday Week 24 Ordinary Time, 1 Tm 2:1-8, Lk 7:1-10
Some people read, even write history. Others make history. Such was the case, as the story goes, of a young Roman patrician, son of Emperor Tiberius. While his older brother tried to make his name by writing speeches for the Roman senate and, at times, chronicling important historical events, the younger son opted to serve in the Roman legions. He was promptly sent to a garrison in Palestine. Eventually his character and courage caught his military superior‘s notice, and he got commissioned as centurion.
One day, faced with the problem of seeing his treasured and trusted servant severely sick, he humbled himself and begged the man from Nazareth for help. Once his servant got healed, the centurion joined the ranks of believers.
The story continues that this same centurion, known as Longinus, witnessing the death of Jesus, confessed, “Truly, this man is the Son of God” (Mark 15:39b).
Two centuries later, two other men, Cornelius (pope) and Cyprianus (a bishop) took active parts in history when they resisted imperial oppression and persecution while combating, at the same time, a highly dangerous heresy coming from Novatus who claimed that apostates and other grave sinners could never be forgiven. In their fight for correctness and faithfulness to Christ‘s teachings on forgiveness, the two leaders of the Church prevailed. But they fell victims to the cruelty of the Roman authorities who ordered them beheaded.
Today, however, we know that Longinus, Cornelius and Cyprianus, just as Karl Marx would say much later, made history. Truly, they took active roles in HIS (s)tory.