Summary: In this day of conflict and disunion, we need to recover this sense that we are all one family of God, to dedicate ourselves to peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Tuesday of the 16th Week in Course 2019
I suppose like many Baby Boomers one of the most memorable films of my lifetime was the Cecile B DeMille epic The Ten Commandments. It was his second stab at commemorating the Exodus, and his only one both with sound and color. Who could forget Charlton Heston standing on the cliff overlooking the Red Sea, holding out his staff and with the rush of wind, acting as the voice of God commanding the waters to part so the Hebrews could walk dry-shod toward the land of promise?
But our acquaintance with the Book of Exodus does not stop there. Once they had been liberated from Egyptian slavery, what did they do? They griped about food; they griped about water. When Moses delayed coming down from the mountain with the Commandments, they made a false god and had an orgy. Time after time they disobeyed their Liberator in the desert, and in the land of promise itself. Slavery in Egypt they escaped, but slavery to sin was a constant temptation for them, as it is for all humans. Only when the Son of Mary, the Son of God came, Himself both divine and human, was their total obedience in love to the will of the Father. The true family is God’s family. Whoever does the will of the Father, God, is the true kinsperson of Our Lord.
The prophet Isaiah looked to this Exodus event in the midst of a time of catastrophe for the people of Israel, when the Assyrians were extending their kingdom in blood over the entire Middle East. He looked forward, then, to a day when “the root of Jesse [would] stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwelling shall be glorious. In that day the Lord will extend His hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of His people. . .”
That day came on a dark Friday about the year 30 when the Son of Mary, who was Son of God, extended His hand on a rude cross and was set up as an ensign to the peoples. He was murdered by Jew and Roman together with us who have sinned in any way. This ensign, this crucifix, stands as a rallying point for all the outcasts of every land, for all sinners, for all who labor under any kind of slavery. His death and resurrection mean salvation for all who will turn to Him in faith and obedience. We shall participate in His resurrection if we die to sin and subscribe wholeheartedly to His way of life.
Today’s saint was bishop of LeMans, France, in the fourth century, Liborius of Le Mans. “He was a Gaul, influenced by Latin culture. He is said to have been Bishop of Le Mans for 49 years. He built some churches in its neighborhood, an indication that his missionary activity was limited to the Gaul of his time. He is said to have ordained, in the course of [his ministry], 217 priests and 186 deacons. Saint Martin of Tours assisted him when he was dying. He was buried in the Apostle Basilica of Le Mans, beside his predecessor, Julian, the founder of the bishopric.
“Miracles are said to have occurred at his tomb. In 835 Bishop Aldrich placed some relics of his body into an altar in the cathedral, and in the following year, on the instructions of Emperor Louis the Pious, sent the body to Bishop Badurad of Paderborn, a diocese founded in 799 by Pope Leo III and Emperor Charlemagne that had no saint of its own.
“From this arose a "love bond of lasting brotherhood" that has survived all the hostilities of the succeeding centuries and is considered to be the oldest contract, [secular or religious] still in force. Both churches bound themselves to help each other by prayer and material assistance, as they have in fact done on more than one occasion.
“In view of the power that veneration of Saint Liborius has had in binding peoples together, Archbishop Johannes Joachim Degenhardt of Paderborn established in 1977 the Saint Liborius Medal for Unity and Peace, which is conferred every five years on someone who has contributed to the unity of Europe on Christian principles.”
In this day of conflict and disunion, we need to recover this sense that we are all one family of God, to dedicate ourselves to peaceful resolution of conflicts. So we ask “St. Liborius, pray for us.”