Today’s station church was San Marcello. It is named after Pope Saint Marcellus I. He died working in the stables on which this church was built. He had been condemned to work there. He was elected in 308 and during his pontificate he was faced with the question of what to do with those people who had denied the faith during the persecutions. He upheld the traditional period of penance. After he made this decision he was arrested and forced to work in the imperial stables in which he died as I previously mentioned. In the early fifth century the first church in this place was built in his honor. This church held the unfortunate honor of being the seat of the antipope Boniface in 418 and then again of an antipope in the early twelfth century.
There are the relics of several saints contained in this church including Saints Degna, Merita, John, Blaise, Diogenes, Longinus and of course Marcellus. This church also contains a crucifix that survived a terrible fire in 1519. It has been especially venerated since then and was carried throughout the city before the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the Great Jubilee Year of 2000.
In today’s readings we hear Jesus say, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The word is the Bible that has been passed down to us by the Church that Jesus Christ founded. By following this word and following the Church he set up on earth we are his disciples. And by making sure that we follow the teaching of the Catholic Church we can make sure that we are living in truth and it is by living in this truth that we are set free. As we come closer and closer to Easter let us strive to understand more fully what the Church teaches and pray especially for those Christians that are not in union with Rome.