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81266-Nero's torches early christian persecution John 15
Nero’s Torches, Painted by Hendryk Siemiradzki (1843-1902), Painted in 1876, Oil on canvas © National Museum, Krakow, Poland

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. (cf. Lk 6:45) 

Gospel Reflections

Christian persecution is not just a matter of another time and another place, as if it happened long ago like we see in the painting Nero's Torches, by the Polish artist Siemiradzki.  That would be a comfortable image, if it were true.  In fact, the 20th Century was the bloodiest century on record for Christian martyrs worldwide.  There were more killed for their Christian beliefs, for the Faith, in the 20th Century than all previous centuries combined.  Today, too, we are witnesses of Christian persecution around the world.  Yet, it begs the question: Are our eyes open to such horror, to these atrocities; or do we ignore them because of a misguided belief that Christianity is but a personal relationship and, therefore, we can excuse our behavior because it's just me and Jesus?  St. Paul reminds us that we are all members of the Body of Christ.  We belong to one family: God's family.  Family is anything but personal.  Jesus prayed, "Father, I pray for them, that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me" (Jn 17:20-21).  We must then also remember Jesus exhorting us, "what happens to the least of these happens to Me" (Mt 25).  Brothers and Sisters, let us not avert our eyes.

Peace be with you!

From the Author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog

For more on Matthew 25 visit  http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/25.


LISTEN:  Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” (Jn 15:18)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.  Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

The Gospel of the Lord


There were more Christian martyrs in the twentieth century than in all of the previous nineteen centuries combined.  Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and many of their lesser-known totalitarian colleagues put millions of Christians to death for their faith in that terrible hundred-year period.  One of the saddest features of the still-young twenty-first century is that this awful trend is undoubtedly continuing.  By far the most persecuted religious group in the world today are Christians, and they are dying by the thousands especially in the Middle East and in Africa.

Bishop Barron on the Persecution of Christians, as first appeared on YouTube, May 30, 2019.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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