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Standing With and For God Every Day - Weekday Homily Video

Standing With and For God Every Day - Weekday Homily Video

Learn more about our faith  |  Holy lives of inspiration

Yesterday, while grocery shopping with my Dad, I made a new friend. As I stood making a big decision between blueberry and cinnamon pound cake, I heard a voice say, “Hi!” in the enthusiasm of a soon-to-be four-year-old.  

Looking down, I saw this little guy with a half-eaten cookie in one hand looking up at me with curiosity and his mother, slightly embarrassed, beside him. I returned his greeting and asked him about the cookie and other important things, like how old he was and his name.  

He proudly told me he was turning four tomorrow, that his name was Teddy Joseph, and that his cookie was good! He told me about these things with the certainty that we adults sometimes lose through life’s challenges and setbacks.



Today’s saint, Athanasius, is a good counterbalance for any of us who feel off-balance or tentative about who God is and who we are in relation to Him and one another. Athanasius faced a lot of tough opposition in his life as a bishop.  


Risking it All for Jesus


His main opponents were those who embraced the Arian heresy that Jesus was not divine—that He was only figuratively the Son of God. It seems almost impossible to imagine that only 200-plus years after the death of Jesus, this would even be up for debate, but it was.  

Back in the 3rd century, it wasn’t just a rhetorical debate but one of the threats of violence that led to Athanasius's banishment and exile by the emperors of his time (in total for 17 plus years). The easy way out would have been for Athanasius to capitulate and end the decades-long battle for the truth.  

However, the saints do not give in to the world but instead, stand with and for God—no matter the cost. Part of this would involve Athanasius escaping to the desert, where it is reported that he wrote the title, “The Life of St. Anthony,” a biography that popularized the monastic movement in the Western church.   


Dying Daily to Self


The following excerpt sheds light on how he inspired people like us with these words, “Let’s continue to be strenuous in pursuing virtue. Let’s not grow tired of seeking it, for the Lord has become a guide for us and every person…”  

St. Athanasius quoted St. Paul, who said, “I die daily,” in reference to living each day and night as if it were his last. He posits that if we were to make our moral decisions each day as if that day or night were to be our last, then we would only choose what pleases God and conforms to the Truth of Jesus.  

He argues that if we were to keep the reality of the imminence of our death in mind, we would never be overcome by the temptation to sin or deny God. Whether it was the temptations of the flesh or anger against another person, we would not choose instant gratification and would not hold onto anger.  

He concludes with the encouragement: “Beloved, let’s be zealous in carrying out the work we have committed ourselves to (our vocations in life), and let’s travel to the end of the road on which we have begun the journey” (Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi, pp. 62-63). 


My brothers and sisters, St. Athanasius is a role model for holding fast to the Truth of Jesus Christ and having the courage of our convictions in Him—one day at a time, with the certainty of a saint and the joy of a child of knowing the truth about life and the love of God. 


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About Father David Marcham

Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!