+ Nothing is really known of the lives of Sts Cosmas and Damian, (who died around the year 303) except that they suffered martyrdom in Syria during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian.
A church built on the site of their burial place was enlarged by the emperor Justinian. Devotion to the two saints spread rapidly in both East and West. A famous basilica was built in their honor in Constantinople. Their names were placed in the canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I), probably in the sixth century: this is place of honor given only to the most exemplary and noteworthy saints.
There is legend that says that they were twin brothers born in Arabia, who became skilled doctors. They were among those who are venerated in the East as the “moneyless ones” because they did not charge a fee for their services. Of course, it was impossible that such prominent persons would escape unnoticed in time of persecution: so they were arrested and beheaded.
Oh, and, nine centuries later, if we recall, Francis of Assisi rebuilt the dilapidated San Damiano (St. Damian) chapel outside Assisi.
The healing power that goes out from both apostles and physicians is proof positive of the breaking into history of the reign of God. May we open ourselves to this restorative power as God wishes to bestow it upon us.
It is evident from our readings today that God is very much present to those who are persecuted for his sake, and even the tortures of martyrdom are no match for the loving embrace of an almighty, loving and merciful God. We rejoice today to know that all of our tears of suffering and endurance, and those we encounter as we try to help others in Christ’s name, will be rewarded with a never failing crown of glory, and a choice spot in the heavenly kingdom!
Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing!