Narcissus lived in the second and early part of the third centuries. He was an old man when he was made bishop of Jerusalem. Narcissus was an excellent bishop. Everyone admired his virtues-everyone except people who chose to live evil lives. Three enemies of the saint accused him of a terrible crime. One said: "May I die by fire if it is not true!" The second said: "May I be wasted away by leprosy if it is not true." The third said: "May I be struck blind if it is not true." Yet no one believed their lie. The people had seen Narcissus' good life. They knew the kind of person he was.
Although no one believed the wicked story, Narcissus used it as an excuse to go off to live in the desert. His whole trust was in God, whom he had served so lovingly. And God showed that the story of those men was absolutely false. Narcissus returned to be bishop of Jerusalem, to the great joy of his people. Although he was even older, he seemed to be more zealous than ever. In fact, he seemed stronger than ever, too, for a few years. Then he became too weak to carry on. He begged God to send him a bishop to help out. Our Lord sent him another saint, Alexander of Cappadocia. With great love and zeal, they ruled the diocese together. Narcissus lived to be over 116 years old. He died in the year 215.
It may be tempting to listen to or participate in gossip about another person, but we can remember that only God truly knows each one of us inside and out.