1 Cor. 1:18-25
Today is the Feast of Justin, martyred in Rome, 167 A.D.
Justin was born early in the 2nd Century, near Shechem in Samaria. He was brought up as a pagan. In his youth he began to study philosophy. He searched for a philosophy that would be true to his view of life. After some searching he adopted Platonism. But not long after he had chosen that he met an old man at the sea shore who convinced him of the truth of Christian teaching. It was a chance meeting, but one having great significance. Justin said of this encounter, “Straightway a flame was kindled in my soul!” Soon after that he was baptized. As a Christian Philosopher, wearing the robe of a philosopher he taught Christianity.
At about the middle of that century he gathered some students and formed a school of Christian philosophy in the city of Rome. During this period he began writing in defense of Christian doctrine and beliefs. Three of these writings have survived.
Today we honor Justin, martyred in Rome in the year 167 (A.D.)
What is there about a martyr that makes him, or her, significant? How can any of the martyrs help us to grow in the Christian faith? One way is for us to be mindful of the witness of the martyrs. (cf. SSJE Rule. of Life, Ch. 38)
Isn’t this a delicious, made-for-the-movies rampage? In the verses just before Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding—but only after being borderline-rude to his mother: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come”. If in that episode he was standard bearer for cheeky young men, today he is patron saint of the hot headed.
He probably didn’t go all the way in with that whip of cords. The merchants and money changers would have been in the outer precincts of the Temple complex. Herod had built an enormous platform with retaining walls for the Temple, which was surrounded by a broad plaza, divided into zones of access. There was an outer Court of the Gentiles. Jewish women could get closer to the Temple proper. Jewish men could enter the Temple, but not into the court of the Priests. The High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, but only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Holy of Holies was the inner sanctum partitioned off by a great curtain. (The curtain rods of the baldacchino over our altar are a vestige of this.)