20160728_kyrikosjulitta_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we remember the holy martyrs, Kyrikos and Julitta today. May the saints, mother and child, pray for us.

St Julitta was a Christian in Asia Minor during the reign of Diocletian. She and her son St Kyrikos came to Tarsis. She was recognized by the governor Alexander and arrested. She was tormented by caning, and despite her torture, she continued professing her faith, saying, “I am a Christian, and I will not offer sacrifice to demons”. St Kyrikos, on seeing the plight of his mother, cried. The governor tried to hug the child, but he broke free and shouted, “Let me go to my mother. I am a Christian!” The governor flew into a rage and threw the boy onto stone steps, and the boy died from the injuries. St Julitta, seeing her dead son, gave thanks to God that her son met a martyr’s end. St Julitta was beheaded after numerous torture.

St Julitta and St Kyrikos, mother and child, showed us what being exemplary Christians seeking the Kingdom of Heaven meant. What is love? Would a mother out of parental love bend her ways to suit the evil ones’ desires and demands, in order to live in denial of Christ? Would that be love? St Julitta showed us that love for God must be paramount and above all else, and that it is fitting for a Christian to sacrifice all things before the throne of God, for the Kingdom of Heaven and an eternal life in Christ surpasses all other things, even physical survival. This is a lesson in parenting, in relationships, and in education.

In our everyday work, it is the same. Do we attempt to place God above all else, or do we sacrifice our pilgrimage and faith instead? It is a tough question we need to ask ourselves.

Whether at work, at home, or at leisure, we need to ask if Christ is the center of our lives. The Apostle Paul was a jew who was transformed to believe in Christ, and became a soldier of Christ. God showed that even the worst sinners, or heretics and pagans, can be transformed in Christ, and find salvation (Galatians 1:11-19).

Christ promised us in John 10:1-9 that He alone is the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, and that no other means will venture us near the door of our Lord. It is therefore also a grim reminder that all others, are but false entities, whether it be wealth, or some pagan entities, or even human beings. Trust not in princes, but trust only our Lord, as we reflect upon Psalm 146:2-4 and Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Life is not a smooth journey, and being a Christian is the toughest journey we are meant to undertake. But God shows us consolations along our journeys whenever we are too weak mentally or physically to continue, and then, we can pick ourselves up and gain strength in Him to go forward towards Him again. It will be a struggle, but we remember Him in His Holy Name,

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Readings:
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Psalm 146:2-4
John 10:1-9
Galatians 1:11-19