Colossians 1:24-29; Psalm 22(23); Luke 22:24-30
“For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.” These were the words St. Thomas is reported to have uttered before his murder. He had been a man of power, accustomed to command. He died as a servant of Christ and a martyr: keeping the faith and preserving the freedom of the Catholic Church.
Our Gospel also provides a timely reminder that we should never raise ourselves above each other - we are meant to be servants of God, and equal in his sight. If our situation in life gives us power over others - we must use that power wisely and always in the service of the people of God. This is made very clear in the catechism of the church: "Authority acts legitimately when it works for the common good" (CCC 1903). The common good includes the sum total of societal conditions which allow people, either as individuals or as groups to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily" (Gaudium et Spes).
Thomas a'Becket gave his life for this principle refusing to comply with the edicts of a tyrannical King, but placing the law of God above all else in governing his life. We pray that we do not have to give our lives as martyrs in this cause, we remember those many in the world today who are doing so, and pray for the courage to act and say what we should do and give witness to in the face of an often difficult society for Christians to live in. He is rightly a Saint in both the English Church and The Roman Catholic Church.