St. Theodore of Tarsus
Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
The saint for today, September 19th, is Theodore of Tarsus, one of the earliest Archbishops of Canterbury. St. Theodore could be considered the patron saint of late calls, as he was consecrated an archbishop and sent to England in 668, when he was about 66 years old. He could also be the patron saint of keeping the peace between two groups that really didn’t like one another. Much of his ministry in medieval England was trying to get folks to the table who did not want to talk. Theodore helped prevent war between the two kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia by means of diplomacy, and he struggled to bring together the Celtic and Roman branches of the church in the British Isles. Theodore even established a school in Canterbury that brought Greek and Latin learning together with the Celtic learning of the Isles.
This was tough work, but Theodore (it seems) was tireless in his ministry. And we remember him not just because it’s interesting to think about an old man standing between two kings with their swords drawn (though this is certainly interesting), but because we, too, are called to bridge gaps and bring together people or groups that are otherwise at each other’s throats. Christ reconciled us to God, and so we must show forth that same reconciliation in our own lives and in our own communities. Christians, in many ways, are called to be diplomats, making peace where we find strife.
May we bring that same peace and love to others that we ourselves have found in God.
Our readings for today are:
Psalm 34:9-14 or 112:1-9
2 Timothy 2:1-5, 10