HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF STs. CORNELIUS AND CYPRIAN
THEME: SUSTAIN THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRIST
BY: Fr. Francis Onwunali
HOMILY FOR FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2022
Today the Church commemorates two friends in the service of Christ and His Church, St. Cornelius, pope and martyr and St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr. Pope Cornelius (251- 253), a Roman, was the twenty-first Pope during the reign of the Emperor Gallud and Volusian. He opposed Novatian, the first anti-pope, who believed that apostates who repented could not be forgiven. Helped by St. Cyprian, Cornelius confirmed his papal authority. He was beheaded in exile at Civitavecchia, Italy in 253 AD. Sts. Cyprian and cornelius are mentioned in the Roman Canon (Eucharist Prayer I) of the Mass.
The readings of today emphasize the resurrection of Christ as the bedrock of our Christian life and support of the course of evangelization.
St. Paul writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15: 12-20) defends the resurrection of the dead who have died in Christ, since by His death and resurrection, Christ is “the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” When touched by the power of the “Risen Lord”, we cannot hold back, but go all out to spread the message in every capacity we can and with all we have.
In the gospel (Luke 8: 1-3), we encounter the traveling companions of Jesus. Besides the twelve, there are variety of women whose lives have been touched and transformed by Jesus, now they use their wealth and abilities to tend to the needs of Jesus and the twelve.
Dear friends, it is absolutely un-Christian to manipulate the gospel message for personal gain or to seek personal wealth when called to service in the body of Christ, the Church. Pope St. John Paul II exhorts “the disciples of Christ and all Christian communities, to carry out a sincere review of their lives regarding their solidarity with the poor” *(Redemptoris* *Missio* , 60). The women who accompanied Christ and the Apostles were transformed by their encounter with Jesus and their primary concern was to see that this transforming message was sustained. In your involvement with the mission of Christ, do you seek to sustain the Good News or do you primarily seek for positions and to enrich yourself?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will eschew greed and seek only to sustain the transforming message of the “Risen Lord” Who came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 28: 28). May we live not for perishable and sordid wealth, but for love of the Word that leads to eternal life. Have a generosity-full day!