Santa Pudenziana: Resting Place for Martyrs
This old basilica takes its name from one of two sisters, Pudentiana and Praxedes, who lived in the time of the first Christian persecutions. They are said to have buried martyrs from the persecutions in a well, which is now on the left side of the Church. When Pope Paschal I began moving relics from the catacombs these two sister’s names appear together first in a list of holy virgins whose relics were being transferred. This Church also holds, in a chapel at the head of the left aisle, a slice of St. Peter’s altar table. The rest of it can be found embedded into the Papal altar in the basilica of St. John Lateran.
At the front of the Church, in the apse, there is a mosaic of Christ and the apostles from the 4th Century in front of a Roman Panorama, although representing Churches in Jerusalem that had been built by Constantine. It is meant to represent the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are all on pilgrimage.
The Path to Humility and Love
The priest this morning (Fr. Nicholas Schneider, Diocese of Bismarck ), preached on what exactly the amounts were that the two servants owed. He mentioned that the fellow servant owed the other a “much smaller amount.” This smaller amount was actually 100 denari, the equivalent of 100 days’ wages. On the other hand the “huge” debt that the first servant was forgiven of by his master was 100 talents which could be up to 150,000 day’s wages. We are being told in the Gospel today, that whatever debts or offenses our neighbors may cause us are really that “much smaller amount” which is conceivably payable, when compared with that “huge” amount , because of our sins, that we owe to God, which in no way we could ever be able to pay back. And yet, the Good Master has been so kind as to forgive us that debt. Viewed in this way, it would be good to follow St. John Chrysostom’s advice to make small of the ways in which our neighbors give us offense and to realize and really accuse ourselves before the Lord of the Greatness of our sins, no matter how small. Going before the Lord in this way, will lead us to a deeper humility, a more profound love of God, who always shows us his great mercy and asks us to share in it.
Written by Mario Majano
Photos by Fr. Justin Huber