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)
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
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.