+St Agatha Heb 13:1-8; Mark 6:14-29
Though our readings this morning, are those of ordinary time, they are very appropriate for this memorial of St Agatha. We just heard from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.”
St Agatha who was martyred because her commitment to Christ by a vow of virginity was at first imprisoned in a brothel by the governor of Sicily so that she would break her vow. Having failed in his effort, he had her tortured and killed for her faith.
John the Baptist as our gospel tells us, was arrested and bound in prison by Herod because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip whom he had married. John is finally beheaded because of his commitment to the sacredness of marriage that sprung from his own appreciation of chastity as a way of dedicating our lives to God.
In our own commitment to the religious life and the total gift of our sexuality to God is only possible as we allow Christ’s love to fill our hearts. St Agatha as well as John the Baptist provide us with wonderful examples of this total surrender.