Today, to begin the fourth week of our Lenten Station Church Pilgrimage, we journeyed to the church of Santi Quattro Coronati (Four Holy Crowns). A few blocks from the Coliseum, this church building dates back to the days of Emperor Constantine and was first used as a church around the year 630. It commemorates two groups of martyrs. The first group, for whom the church was named, was four Christian soldiers who refused to sacrifice to pagan gods and so were killed during the Diocletian Persecution. The second group was five stone masons who were killed for refusing to make a statue of a pagan god. In giving their lives for love, these two groups of heroic martyrs remind us of Christ’s unwavering love for us, even to the point of His death on a cross. As Lent draws closer to Good Friday, we remember that it is not just the martyrs who remind the world of Christ’s faithful love. We too must listen to how the Lord is calling us to show the world that God is a God of mercy and love. In this way we become witnesses to Jesus just as the martyrs were.
On the strength of Jesus’ Word
In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to have faith in Him. A royal official approaches Jesus and begs that He heal his dying son. Rather than performing an obvious miracle, Jesus simply tells the official, “You may go; your son will live.” St. John tells us that “the man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” How many of us would have had that reaction? Would we have believed as easily as the official did? Most of us would have asked Jesus for a sign to prove that the boy would actually be healed. Jesus’ word would not have been enough. Or how many of us, trying to live out the Christian life, really believe that Jesus can heal our sinful nature? Every day we try to follow Christ, and yet we repeatedly fall. Today, Jesus is calling us to remember the gift of faith we have been given in our baptism. We do not need to approach God with doubt, wondering whether He will love us with all our faults. We approach Him as children, confident in His unending love. Following Christ is not a matter of picking ourselves up by the bootstraps. Rather, it is a life of faith in Christ who freely gives us the grace to follow Him. All He asks of us is to live out this gift of faith. Today Jesus is calling us to believe in His goodness and be open to his healing power in our lives.
Written by Christopher Seith
Photos by Fr. Justin Huber