Thursday of the 34th week in the ordinary time of the year C

Theme: Perseverance in faith

Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac priest and his companions (Martyrs). In today’s memorial, we are celebrating the faith of about 117 martyrs that willingly gave their lives for their faith in God. They were both Vietnamese and missionaries from Europe. They were all martyred in Vietnam, during the period of great persecution that lasted for about a hundred years. They went through great torture in the hands of their tormentors and they remained resolute and stood firm until the end. The blood of these martyrs continues to strengthen our faith in God and also challenges us to emulate their faith in God; irrespective of the price we have to pay at the end. Like it is often said, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity. My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us continue to draw strength from the life lived in faith by our ancestors in faith, and do all we can to remain steadfast and resolute at all times.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is to tell us that the persecution of Christians started a long time ago and did not begin in our own time. Whatever you may be going through at the moment, by way of persecution is not new, because your brothers and sisters in the faith have gone through the same or similar situation. This consciousness should always strengthen our faith in God at all times. This is very important, because at one time or the other in our lives, we are bound to encounter persecution as a result of our faith in different ways. When it begins to happen in our life, do not lose faith in God, but rather trust in God and remain resolute. Then our faith in God and resoluteness will win us the crown of unfading glory.

Dearly beloved in Christ, we already know that there are bound to be persecution at one time or the other in our lives, but we must do all we can not to be among the persecutors. Just like Jesus said, his betrayal was certain, but woe to the man through whom the son of man is betrayed. As children of God, we should strive to promote the kingdom of God at all times, by living like children of the kingdom. May almighty God bless you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

Memorial of St. Andrew Dung Lac and companions, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp