Tony Worner, Leader of Formation at St Agnes’ Catholic reads from the Gospel of Luke (17:20-25) in which Jesus tells the Pharisees ‘the kingdom of God is in your midst’. Today, we celebrate the Memorial of St Martin of Tours and it is also Remembrance Day.
Tony says, the exact year of Martin’s birth is unknown, but scholars agree that it was sometime between 316 – 336 AD. And if you’re aware of history, the persecution of Christians stopped with Emperor Constantine in 313 AD. So, Martin was born when Christianity began to flourish.
At the age of 15 Martin followed his father into the calvary corps of the Roman military. Around the age of 20, after various experiences and visons of the ‘Christian life’, Martin made clear to his superiors that he would no longer fight. He refused his pay prior to a battle and announced he would not join in the combat. He became the first recognized conscientious objector in recorded history. His proclamation occurred before a battle near the modern German city of Worms. His superiors accused him of cowardice and ordered that he be imprisoned. Martin offered to demonstrate his sincerity by going into battle unarmed. This was seen as an acceptable alternative to jailing him, but before the battle could occur, the opposing army agreed to a truce and no conflict took place. Martin was subsequently released from military service.
Now out of military service Martin was able to fully dedicate his life to Christ and became an extraordinary evangelist. He became the bishop of Tours in 371. Martin died around the year 397 AD.
Noting Martin’s time in the army, he was a leader, he performed several acts of bravery, and had experiences where Christ was present in his actions and visions. So, today, in remembering St Martin of Tours, and at particularly the 11th hour, Tony says we also remember those who have died in war:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
St Martin of Tours … pray for us.