Memorial of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher

Scripture Readings: Gen 13:2, 5-18; Mt 7:6, 12-14

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher are best known as courageous statesmen who died in defense of Church teachings and the papacy.  But their heroic deaths were preceded by decades spent in striving for holiness.  Thomas More once said, “The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”  When friends reproached him for going to Holy Communion so often he replied, “Your reasons for wanting me to stay away from Holy Communion are exactly the ones which cause me to go so often. My distractions are great, but it is in Communion that I recollect myself. I have temptations many times a day; by daily Communion I get the strength to overcome them. I have important business to handle and I need light and wisdom; it is for this reason that I go to Holy Communion every day to consult Jesus about them.

Today many questions are raised about the active involvement of Christians, priests and bishops in social issues. John Fisher and Thomas More remained faithful to their calling as priests and bishops. The very cause of their martyrdoms was their loyalty to the teachings of the Church. Both of them denounced King Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn as invalid, and they refused to accept the Act of Succession because it repudiated papal authority.

In a document titled Justice in the World, back in 1971 the Synod of Bishops taught that, “The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it.”  May our bishops today have the courage of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher to proclaim and defend the teachings of the Church about the sanctity of life and of the Eucharist.