Jesus called his Twelve disciples to him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to heal every disease and sickness.
These are the names of the Twelve apostles: first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray him.
Jesus sent these Twelve on mission, with the instructions: “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go, instead, to the lost sheep of the people of Israel.
Go, and proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven is near.
In many subtle (and not so subtle) ways, the mass media are actively campaigning to convince teenagers that esteem for virginity is a medieval concept and that a girl should get rid of her virginity as soon as possible. In fact, we often hear and see on television, say, a sixteen-year-old girl deplore the fact that she is still a virgin—as though virginity were some kind of disease! This loss of appreciation for virginity in so-called “Christian” countries is all the more lamentable when we compare the care with which virginity is guarded among Muslim populations.
Well, the saint we remember today, Maria Goretti, chose to die in resisting a rapist. Although only 12 years old, she sustained fourteen stab wounds in order to preserve her virginity.
Why is virginity important? Because, as Paul reminds us, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and our entire being, body and soul, has been bought by Christ’s blood. Our bodies are holy and deserve our deepest respect. But, in order to protect this treasure from desecration, we must be willing to adopt a certain lifestyle involving prayer and self-discipline. Are we ready for this?
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