HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ST. AGNES.
THEME: THE MARTYRDOM OF ST. AGNES.
BY: Fr. Eugene Sixtus.
HOMILY FOR JANUARY 21ST.
It is obviously another 21st of January again. A day and moment we celebrate the martyrdom of St Agnes. According to tradition the church, Agnes was a beautiful girl, about 12 or 13 years old, who refused marriage, stating that she could have no spouse but Jesus Christ. Her suitors revealed her Christianity, which was then condemned as a cult, and in punishment she was exposed in a brothel. Awed by her purity and presence, all but one of the Roman youths left her untouched; in his attempt to violate her, the sole attacker was miraculously struck blind, whereupon Agnes healed him with prayer. Later, after refusing to renounce her faith, she was murdered during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian and was buried beside the Via Nomentana.
On her feast day two lambs are blessed in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Rome, and from their wool are made the pallia sent by the pope to archbishops as tokens of jurisdiction.
Pallium in this context mean a liturgical vestment worn over the chasuble by the pope, archbishops, and some bishops in the Roman Catholic church. It is bestowed by the pope on archbishops and bishops having metropolitan jurisdiction as a symbol of their participation in papal authority. It is made of a circular strip of white lamb’s wool about two inches wide and is placed over the shoulders. Two vertical bands, extending from the circular strip in the front and back, give the pallium a Y-shaped appearance. Six crosses, one each on the chest and back and on each shoulder and band, adorn the vestment.
The blood of the martyrs as said always is the seed of the church, we continue seeking for the intercession of those who have gone before us with the sign of faith, that we that are pilgrims on earth should not allow anything to deter us from God’s purpose of inheriting his Kingdom in eternity.
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