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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

February 5th: St. Agatha, virgin and martyr

Gospel text (Lk 9,23-26): Jesus also said to all the people, «If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it, and if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it (…)».

St. Agatha, virgin and martyr (IIIrd century)

Fr. Jesús VEGA Mesa (San Antonio Abad de Tamaraceite, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the memory of St. Agatha, a virgin probably martyred during the Decian persecution. The Christian people must be always willing to offer their life for Christ. This is how St. Agatha, the saint born in Sicily in the 3rd Century, perceived it. It was not possible to marshal her total love for Jesus with the Roman prefect's amorous advances that were trying to force her to break his promise of virginity. Agatha, a young Christian girl, received the most terrible and cruel death threats.

When they arrested her for being a Christian, they first tried to convince her to make sacrifices to the gods. By not getting it, they forced her to prostitute herself as a punishment. But she had already drunk from the Gospel fountain: “For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it” (Lk 9:24). And she begged the Lord for His strength in order not to fail Him.

—As St. Agatha did, we are also to pray with the Psalm: «Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the violence of the wicked» (Ps 17:8-9).