ST. SEBASTIAN was an officer in the Roman army, esteemed even by the heathen as a good soldier, and honored by the Church ever since as a champion of Jesus Christ. Born at Narbonne, Sebastian came to Rome about the year 284, and entered the lists against the powers of evil. He found the twin brothers Marcus and Marcellinus in prison for the faith, and, when they were near yielding to the entreaties of their relatives, encouraged them to despise flesh and blood, and to die for Christ. God confirmed his words by miracle: light shone around him while he spoke; he cured the sick by his prayers; and in this divine strength he led multitudes to the faith, among them the Prefect of Rome, with his son Tiburtius. He saw his disciples die before him, and one of them came back from heaven to tell him that his own end was near. It was in a contest of fervor and charity that St. Sebastian found the occasion of martyrdom. The Prefect of Rome, after his conversion, retired to his estates in Campania, and took a great number of his fellow-converts with him to this place of safety. It was a question whether Polycarp the priest or St. Sebastian should accompany the neophytes. Each was eager to stay and face the danger at Rome, and at last the Pope decided that the Roman church could not spare the services of Sebastian. He continued to labor at the post of danger till he was betrayed by a false disciple. He was led before Diocletian, and, at the emperor's command, pierced with arrows and left for dead. But God raised him up again, and of his own accord he Went before the emperor and conjured him to stay the persecution of the Church. Again sentenced, he was at last beaten to death by clubs, and crowned his labors by the merit of a double martyrdom.
Reflection. —Your ordinary occupations will give you opportunities of laboring for the faith. Ask help from St. Sebastian. He was not a priest nor a religious, but a soldier.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Pope St. Fabian ruled the Church from A.D. 236 to A.D. 250. He died a glorious martyr in the persecution under Decius in 250.
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 78, 11, 12, 10
Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbors sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy saints which hath been shed. Ps. 78, 1. O God the heathens are come into Thy inheritance; they have defiled Thy holy temple; thy have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit. Glory be …
Look down upon our infirmity, O almighty God, and, because the burden of our own deeds weigheth us down, let the glorious intercession of Thy blessed martyrs, Fabia ad Sebastian, protect us. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Heb. 11, 33-39
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.
[What faith is. Its wonderful fruits and efficacy demonstrated in the fathers.]
BRETHREN, the saints through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners: Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection.
And others had trial of mockeries and stripes, moreover also of bands and prisons. They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted: Of whom the world was not worthy; wandering in deserts, in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth. And all these being approved by the testimony of faith, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gradual • Ex. 15, 11
God is glorious in His saints, wonderful in majesty, doing wonders. Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorified in strength: Thy right hand hath broken the enemies.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 144, 10, 11. Thy saints shall bless Thee, O Lord; thy shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel • Luke 6, 17-23
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ excuses his disciples. He cures upon the sabbath day, chooses the twelve and makes a sermon to them.]
At THAT time, Jesus coming down from the mountain stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon, Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man' s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
Offertory • Ps. 31, 11
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just; and glory all ye right of heart.
Graciously receive, O Lord, the sacrifices dedicated to the merits of Thy blessed martyrs Fabian and Sebastian, and grant that they may profit for our everlasting help. Through our Lord.
Communion • Luke 6, 17, 18, 19
A multitude of sick, and thy that were troubled with unclean spirits, came to Him; for virtue went out from Him, and healed all.
Refreshed by participation in Thy sacred gift, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that, by the intercession of Thy holy martyrs Fabian and Sebastian, we may experience the power of the sacrament which we worship. Through our Lord.