St. Gregory Grassi and Companions
Christian missionaries have often gotten caught in the crossfire of wars against their own countries. When the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia and France forced substantial territorial concessions from the Chinese in 1898, anti-foreign sentiment grew very strong among many Chinese people. Twenty-six of these martyrs were arrested on the orders of Yu Hsien, the governor of Shanxi province. They were hacked to death on July 9, 1900. Five of them were Friars Minor; seven were Franciscan Missionaries of Mary — the first martyrs of their congregation. Seven were Chinese seminarians and Secular Franciscans; four martyrs were Chinese laymen and Secular Franciscans. The other three Chinese laymen killed in Shanxi simply worked for the Franciscans and were rounded up with all the others. Three Italian Franciscans were martyred that same week in the province of Hunan. All these martyrs were beatified in 1946 and were among the 120 martyrs canonized in 2000.
Christian missionaries have often gotten caught in the crossfire of wars against their own countries. When the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia and France forced substantial territorial concessions from the Chinese in 1898, anti-foreign sentiment grew very strong among many Chinese people.
Twenty-six of these martyrs were arrested on the orders of Yu Hsien, the governor of Shanxi province. They were hacked to death on July 9, 1900. Five of them were Friars Minor; seven were Franciscan Missionaries of Mary — the first martyrs of their congregation. Seven were Chinese seminarians and Secular Franciscans; four martyrs were Chinese laymen and Secular Franciscans. The other three Chinese laymen killed in Shanxi simply worked for the Franciscans and were rounded up with all the others. Three Italian Franciscans were martyred that same week in the province of Hunan. All these martyrs were beatified in 1946 and were among the 120 martyrs canonized in 2000.
Martyrdom is the occupational hazard of missionaries. Throughout China during the Boxer Uprising, five bishops, 50 priests, two brothers, 15 sisters and 40,000 Chinese Christians were killed. The 146,575 Catholics served by the Franciscans in China in 1906 had grown to 303,760 by 1924 and were served by 282 Franciscans and 174 local priests. Great sacrifices often bring great results.
"Martyrdom is part of the Church's nature since it manifests Christian death in its pure form, as the death of unrestrained faith, which is otherwise hidden in the ambivalence of all human events. Through martyrdom the Church's holiness, instead of remaining purely subjective, achieves by God's grace the visible expression it needs. As early as the second century one who accepted death for the sake of Christian faith or Christian morals was looked on and revered as a 'martus' (witness). The term is scriptural in that Jesus Christ is the 'faithful witness' absolutely (Revelations 1:5; 3:14)" (Karl Rahner, Theological Dictionary, volume 2, pp. 108-09).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
Reading 1 hos 8:4-7, 11-13
Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames—
such is the calf of Samaria!
When they sow the wind,
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.
When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger's.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
Responsorial Psalm ps 115:3-4, 5-6, 7ab-8, 9-10
R. (9a) The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have hands but feel not;
they have feet but walk not.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone that trusts in them.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Gospel mt 9:32-38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
"Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
But the Pharisees said,
"He drives out demons by the prince of demons."
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest."
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13
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14th Week in Ordinary Time
They made idols for themselves. (Hosea 8:4)
Ornately carved dragons, stoic Buddhas, calves, bulls, even human forms with animal heads—the ancient world offered an extraordinary variety of idols. Today, we're more likely to treat athletes, rock stars, or luxury cars as idols. But in the end, an idol is anything that we allow to influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions more than it should. Perhaps the Pharisees who opposed Jesus idolized their own narrow observance of Judaism. So when Jesus came neither looking nor acting as they thought he should, they plotted against him.
Here's the thing about idols: they're tricky. They can have great sway over us, yet not appear as idols at all! But if something erodes your peace, causes your heart to tremble, or drives rational thoughts from your head, there's probably some kind of idolatry behind it.
That's not to say that we're all idolaters who willingly and greedily bow down to the modern world's false gods. It's hard to find someone who "worships" money or someone who is truly "obsessed" with gaining power. Still, if the everyday ups and downs of the stock market send you into a panic or if the slightest tickle in your throat brings on visions of a fatal illness, then something has a greater hold on you than it should.
It doesn't have to be this way! Nothing has to rob you of your peace or your trust in the Lord. If you can get into the habit of guarding and examining your thoughts during the day, you'll find yourself more peaceful. Just try to be aware of the thoughts that grip your imagination, and see where they lead you. Don't engage in a witch hunt; just take a look at what goes on inside of you. If the thoughts are making you more agitated or more self-focused, try to redirect them.
For example, tell yourself, "God holds my life in his hand, and nothing can snatch me away." Or "God is a God of hope; I know he can satisfy the longings of my heart." Where you find fear or gridlock in your heart, take it to your heavenly Father. Remember that he sent his Son to give you freedom and peace!
"Jesus, you are the one true God! Teach me how to find my hope in you. Lord, I want to know the peace that comes from surrendering to you."
Psalm 115:3-10; Matthew 9:32-38
O DIVINE JESUS
O Divine Jesus, lonely tonight in so many tabernacles, without visitor or worshipper, I offer You my poor but loving heart. May its every beat be a prayer of love for You.
You are ever watching under the sacramental veils; in Your love You never sleep and are never weary of Your vigil for sinners. O good Jesus, I love You; I am truly sorry for ever having offended You.
O lonely Jesus, may my heart be as a lamp, the light of which shall burn for You alone. Bless me, O Jesus, come spiritually into my soul and fill my heart with love for You. Make me completely Yours. Take this sinful heart of mine and guide it through this vale of tears.
Heart of Jesus, hear me.
When I draw my parting breath, when my eyes shall close in death; then sweet Jesus be near to me. Heart of Jesus, hear me.
Watch Sacramental Sentinel, watch for the weary world; for the erring soul and for your poor lonely child.