Thursday of the 8th week in the ordinary time

Theme: The blood of the Martyrs

Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. Justin Martyr, he was a philosopher. Like it is often said, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity. Justin loved God and had faith in God, for him to lay down his life without worries. Each time we celebrate these great men and women of our faith, who willing gave their lives because of their faith in God, it reminds us of who we are and what is expected of us as followers of Christ. We may not shed our blood like Justin, but we can be ‘martyrs’ in different other ways, to the glory of God. Some Christians have chosen to swim against the current by been the voice of the voiceless wherever they find themselves. This is not an easy task for one to take upon himself in our world today, that is full of compromises for selfish and personal gain. This is one way of partaking in the mission and suffering of Christ, we need more Christians who will willing embrace this mission today in our world. We also need Christians today in our world, who are willing to be the hope of the hopeless, this can be done in different ways; either spiritually or materially or both. We are all encouraged today to take up a particular good action to carry out for the good of others and to the greater glory of God.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, if we can do something to the glory of God, we will simply be partaking in the mission of Christ. Interestingly, God never gets tired of reaching out to you and me, just like we see in the gospel reading of today. Jesus did not allow the crowd to stop him from restoring the sight of the blind Bartimaeus, because he saw the desire of the blind man to regain his sight, even when the people were trying to shut him up. His persistence paid off and Jesus restored his sight. A very important point from todays gospel is, how much persistence is attached to your prayers and requests from God? By your calculation, it has taken a lot of time, and you have stopped praying, why? It is possible that if Bartimaeus kept quiet by listening to the people, maybe he would not have his sight restored by Jesus. Also, what is that voice in your life now that is telling you to keep quiet, because it has taken long, and God will no longer answer your prayer? It may be the situation around you or an individual. Today’s gospel is encouraging us to emulate Bartimaeus and remain persistent until God responds.

May the Lord grant eternal rest to the souls of Fr. John Okoronkwo and Rev. Vincent Sadique who died on this day some years ago. Amen. Peace be with you.

Memorial of St. Justin Martyr, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp