St. Fabian and St. Sebastian
Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250.
It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius. Early writers say that he was an extraordinary person, known to be very holy. In a letter written shortly after Fabian's death, St. Cyprian explained how Fabian had been elected pope. The group who had gathered to elect the next pope received a real sign that the choice should be Fabian. He was the first layman to be pope. Bishop and martyr, Fabian's remains are now in the basilica of St. Sebastian. And the two martyrs share the same feast day.
Sebastian became widely known from the early centuries of the Church. As a Roman captain, he became known for his goodness and bravery. During the persecution by Diocletian, Sebastian would not renounce his Christian faith. Archers shot arrows into his body and left him for dead. When a holy widow came to bury him, she was shocked to find him still alive. She took him to her home and nursed his wounds. When Sebastian was well enough, the widow tried to persuade him to escape the dangers of Rome. But Sebastian was a brave soldier. He would not run away. He even approached Diocletian and urged him to stop persecuting the Christians.
The emperor was shocked to see Sebastian alive. He refused to listen to what the soldier had to say. Diocletian ordered that Sebastian be immediately clubbed to death. He died in 288.
How often do we act in fear instead of trusting Jesus? Again and again, Jesus invites us to come to him. His love casts out all our fear. All he asks is our trust in him.