Gospel: Mt 8:18-22
When Jesus saw the crowd pressing around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. A teacher of the law approached him; and said, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Another disciple said to him “Lord, let me go and bury my father first.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
When we think of courage, we usually imagine someone jumping into a raging torrent to save a drowning child or a firefighter racing into a burning house to save its inhabitants or a quadriplegic restoring the use of his or her limbs through persevering and grueling efforts or even a lion tamer facing a cage full of lions. But all these instances of courage illustrate especially one kind of courage: physical courage.
Yet, there is another kind of courage which we could call intellectual courage (the scientist who perseveres in his quest for the truth) or moral courage (the defender of truth, of beauty, of virtue).
The saint we remember today was a man of great intellectual and moral courage. As bishop of Alexandria for 20 years, Cyril had to struggle against the heresy of Nestorius, who refused to give to Mary the title of Mother of God, contending that Mary was only the mother of the man Jesus. Finally in 431 the Council of Ephesus solemnly declared Mary to be the Mother of God.
To fight for the truth we believe in is an eminently great form of courage. May we all pray to receive it from the Spirit.
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