Yesterday was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, but it was also the Feast of St. John Fisher. St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More were martyred for their opposition to King Henry VIII’s illicit marriage and usurpation of ecclesial authority. Although Thomas More is the better known, the feast on which both saints are celebrated is the death date of St. John. That death date would have been June 24th, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, but the parallels between John the Baptist and John Fisher were two striking: the latter was named for the former, and both were decapitated for their opposition to their king’s unlawful marriages. In the face of such political incorrectness, what is a king to do? Move up the execution, of course!
St. John Fisher reminds us what it means to be a priest and a Christian: to stand for Christ even in great opposition, even when our peers shy away from that stance, and to offer the sacrifice of one’s own life for the gospel.