Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Catherine of Alexandria was a learned woman, a convert to Christianity at the age of eighteen. She preached the Gospel throughout Alexandria in Egypt. She was imprisoned by the Emperor Maximus. Before her martyrdom, she converted the empress and the head of the Armed Forces to Christianity. She is the patroness of philosophers, preachers and young unmarried women.
In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is addressed as "teacher." A term used eleven times in Luke, and always by an outsider not a disciple. This is the last time this term will be used in Luke. The question has to do with the End Time. Clearly the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple has taken place. Josephus tells us in the year 70 A.D. the devastation was beyond imagination: the inhabitants were so desperate they turned to cannibalism, over a million people perished, and 97,000 were carried into captivity. The Temple was destroyed by the Roman soldiers by fire. This structure, composed of green and white marble, was considered one of the wonders of the world, took forty years to build, and was still incomplete. The end of the Temple was the end of sacrifice, Israel’s supreme act of worship! Surely, the end time had to be at hand?
Jesus doesn’t direct his response to the question of the end time. Rather he speaks about not being misled, don’t follow false prophets, and don’t be afraid. Be assured that God will bring good out evil. Right will triumph in the end, and the task for the disciple is to show patience and endurance. (v.19 – By endurance you will gain your lives.")
These words are a welcome reminder as we come to the end of our liturgical year. As we deal with the struggles our country and the world are challenged with financially, socially, and politically. This feast day and the scripture readings remind us that "end" implies responsibility and a new beginning. The reading from Revelations reminds us that it is our good deeds that will be harvested by God.
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.