St. Josaphat, bishop and martyr

Today’s readings

Saint Josaphat was born in what is now Poland to Orthodox parents.  He later became a Basilian monk, and was chosen bishop of Vitebsk, in what is now Russia.  His task was not an easy one, because the orthodox monks did not want union with Rome.  They feared interference in liturgy and customs, but over time, using synods and other instruction, he was able to win many of the Orthodox in that area to the union.

But the fight was far from over.  A dissident faction of the church was formed, and they fomented opposition to Josaphat.  Eventually the mob murdered him and threw his body into a river.  The body was recovered and is now buried in St. Peter’s basilica.  Josaphat is the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that before the coming of the Son of Man in all his glory, he must first suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.  That was true for Jesus, of course, and clearly true for Josaphat.  Those who take up their cross and follow Jesus will usually have to deal with rejection and suffering.  None of us will be immune to it.  Let us pray for the grace to follow Christ anyway, as Josaphat did, to the praise and glory of God.