St. Pelagia of Tarsus in Cilicia (southeastern Asia Minor) lived in the third century during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), and was the daughter of illustrious pagans. When she heard about Jesus Christ from her Christian friends, she believed in Him and desired to preserve her virginity, dedicating her whole life to the Lord. Diocletian sentenced Pelagia to be burned in a red-hot bronze bull. Not permitting the executioners to touch her body, the holy martyr signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, and went into the bronze bull and her flesh melted like myrrh, filling the whole city with fragrance. St. Pelagia’s remained unharmed and were removed by the pagans to a place outside the city. Four lions came out of the wilderness and sat around the bones letting neither bird nor wild beast get at them. The lions protected the relics of the saint until Bishop Linus came to that place and gathered them all up and buried the relics with honor. Later, a church was built over her holy relics.
O Jesus, your lamb Pelagia cries out to You with great love: O my Bridegroom, I long for You in great pain. I am crucified with You, and in baptism I am buried with You. I suffer for your sake in order to reign with You. I die for You in order to live in You. Accept me as an immaculate victim since I am immolated for your love. Through her intercession, O merciful One, save our souls.
Having inflamed your soul with love of Christ, you entered the boiling pot with courage. You became a sacrifice of pleasing aroma to the Lord. Today we remember you, O wise Pelagia, and we sing to you.
In those days, Simon [the magician] observed that it was through the laying on of hands that the apostles conferred the Spirit, and he made them an offer of money with the request, “Give me that power too, so that if I place my hands on anyone he will receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter said in answer: “May you and your money rot–thinking that God’s gift can be bought! You can have no portion or lot in this affair. Your heart is not steadfastly set on God. Reform your evil ways. Pray that the Lord may pardon you for thinking the way you have. I see you poisoned with gall and caught in the grip of sin.” Simon responded, “I need the prayers of all of you to the Lord, so that what you have just said may never happen to me.”
After giving their testimony and proclaiming the word of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem bringing the good news to many villages of Samaria on the way.
John 6: 35-39
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “I myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, no one who believed in me shall ever thirst. But as I told you – though you have seen me, you still do not believe. All that the Father gives me shall come to me; no one who comes will I ever reject, because it is not to do my own will that I have come down from heaven, but to do the will of him who sent me. It is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of what he has given me; rather, that I should raise it up on the last day.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, May 3 –