thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Friday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Boniface
Readings may be found here
Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Boniface, “Apostle to the Germans.” This missionary monk went to central Europe at a time of great violence and war between various tribes. He worked tirelessly to overcome these hatreds and bring the tribes to unity and faith in Jesus Christ. On the day of his martyrdom, murdered by bandits, Boniface cited Romans 12:21 to his attackers: “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”
For Paul, that message was more than words. Before his conversion, Paul (Saul) believed it right to use violence and murder against others. He persecuted early Christian believers because they violated Saul’s passionate beliefs about the separation of Gentiles and Jews. Those early Christians, in accord with Jesus’ own teaching and example, formed communities that bridged ethnic and cultural divides. After his conversion, Paul embraced the beauty of the Lord’s teaching and rejected violence and coercion. In the first reading today, we hear part of Paul’s legacy to the young church leader, Timothy. Paul is speaking of enduring hardship and remaining faithful to the Lord. He suffered violence, but he never again inflicted it.
Evil deeds will never be healed or overcome by more evil deeds. Violence will never satisfy broken hearts nor bring peace. The only way, the way of the Lord Jesus and His disciples, is to overcome evil with good.