We know more about the devotion to St. Blase by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blase's feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual St. Blase blessing for their throats. The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blase off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blase's command the child was able to cough up the bone. Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blase to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blase refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. (English wool combers, who used similar iron combs, took Blase as their patron. They could easily appreciate the agony the saint underwent.) Finally, he was beheaded.
We know more about the devotion to St. Blase by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blase's feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual St. Blase blessing for their throats.
The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blase off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blase's command the child was able to cough up the bone.
Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blase to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blase refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. (English wool combers, who used similar iron combs, took Blase as their patron. They could easily appreciate the agony the saint underwent.) Finally, he was beheaded.
Four centuries give ample opportunity for fiction to creep in with fact. Who can be sure how accurate Blase's biographer was? But biographical details are not essential. Blase is seen as one more example of the power those have who give themselves entirely to Jesus. As Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you" (John 15:7). With faith we can follow the lead of the Church in asking for Blase's protection.
"Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Blessing of St. Blase).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Heb 12:1-4
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:26b-27, 28 and 30, 31-32
R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
Alleluia Mt 8:17
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
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I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently- will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Meditation: Mark 5:21-43
Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr
Little girl, I say to you, arise! (Mark 5:41)
Some versions of the Bible put the words of Jesus in red print as a way of drawing our attention to what the Lord said as he walked the earth. This isn't a bad idea, even if it's still a translation of the actual words Jesus spoke. Today's Gospel passage, however, goes further. Talitha koum isn't a translation; they are the exact Aramaic words that Jesus would have spoken.
Imagine yourself in this scene. Perhaps you are the anxious parent or a scornful mourner or one of the disciples. Linger with these bystanders as long as you like. But then lie down in that bed of nothingness as that lifeless girl. Suddenly two words break into your darkness: talitha koum!
At this moment there is no one else in the room. Jesus is speaking these words to you alone. He has made it possible for you to hear his voice. Then you notice that he is holding your hand. Power flows from him, enabling you to do the impossible: to get up from your deathbed. But don't hurry off just yet. Jesus is smiling at you. Just as he singled out one bleeding woman in a crowd of people a few moments earlier and fastened his eyes on her, he is looking intently at you. With a firm love that can heal any disease and calm any storm, he is telling you to get up: arise!
God often tells his servants to arise. He told Elijah, "Arise, go to Zarephath... . I have commanded a widow there to feed you" (1 Kings 17:9). He told a dead man, the only son of a widow, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" (Luke 7:14). A blind man outside Jericho heard, "Take courage; get up, he is calling you" (Mark 10:49). An angel told the deacon Philip, "Get up and head south" (Acts 8:26).
Arise! Get up! I have a plan for you! We may not know exactly what will happen next, but we can be sure that God has everything in hand.
Today during your prayer, stand up straight and tall. Ask God what he wants you to do next. Don't worry if it sounds impossible. Just keep your eyes "fixed on Jesus" (Hebrews12:2). If he can raise the dead, he can surely take care of you!
"Jesus, I stand ready to do whatever you call me to."
"...let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us"
They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And our Lord says something we should never forget in today's most beautiful Gospel ""Do not be afraid; just have faith."
I share my faith with you, but when others share theirs, it is beautiful. Yet, few people share. Few people dare. But the woman in today's Gospel that was bleeding to death dared to share, and take her share of the Lord. It is the story of the first Scripture in reality. That of running a race, that of following the leader, Jesus, and being able to touch Him in faith. Because hundreds and thousands crowded Him, but being next to Him can mean more than physically being next to Him. I was thinking that during our community rosary and friendship group last night. As we discussed, I thought, "does it matter how close you sit to the Blessed Sacrament?" One foot, 5 foot, or 100 foot? It matters to a body, but not to a Spirit. And so God's body heals, it healed the body of the dying woman, because to be sick back in those days meant you were being punished for sins, and so the burden was torture "She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had." That is to say, we spend ourselves in our lives at every whim and fancy that comes at us, until we find Jesus, chase after Him, follow Him, and all for what? To hear those most powerful and healing words of the soul "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction." Her afflictions of scorn, ridicule, and hurting phsyically to boot, all were healed, by her faith in Jesus. "They will praise you, Lord, who long for you." Until we long for the Lord, that's when we'll praise. And that is something we tried to do in our charismatic meeting the other night...Praise. We long for Christ. A co-worker's wife had been suffering physical ailments that would not let her sleep. The co-worker brought her and we prayed for healing. That night, my friend, the co-worker said "she felt peace for the first time" and then said "she slept all through the night" unlike most other nights. This is the power of faith in action, yours, and God. He has faith in us, it is us that don't have faith in Him.
And so ultimately, we have to understand the race that will probably result in shedding of blood (spilling ourselves for Him and with Him). In my experience outside this world, I saw Jesus on the cross in darkness, but I knew He was disfigured, the beatings and the blood that was scabbing all over His body was the deformities of our sin that had covered Him. Yet, this was your Father, my Father. This is what the world offered, our infirmities and deformities, and He took them on all at once and as a cherry on top, He took on death. He did this to show the way to great love...of the Father. Because when He took that little 12 yr. old girl by the hand and told her to get up, what that little girl didn't know was that her FATHER in Heaven, was saying inside His Sacred heart "I love you so much that I am going to take on your death, I will die for you so you can live". And that chokes me up, because who does that? For a "stranger" in the world's eyes? That is a real brave man, but more so, that is a very Holy man. And this is what the world needs, people that are not afraid of anything but God. Afraid to offend Him. Afraid to be away from Him. Yet, the world is living in darkness because they are afraid to BE with Him. Afraid to stop offending because of what will be lost...self pleasure.
For this, you have read the message of a God that will again offer Himself up for you, in blood and body, to be torn apart to pieces by our hungry teeth and body...soul. He offers it in the Eucharist. He offers to this day an utmost powerful love like you will never experience in your life. And it is healing, and it is saving, and it is sanctifying. Because ultimately, He saves to be with Him, make one with Him...