Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us of the assurance of God, that despite the challenges and difficulties we may have to face in the midst of following Him and obeying His will, but God will never abandon us. He will bless all those who have given themselves to His cause and will provide for all of those who have been faithful to Him.
He gave us this assurance as He prepared His disciples at that time of the coming persecutions and challenges that they would have to face in the midst of opposition and rejection from those who have closed their hearts and minds off from the Lord’s truth. In the first reading we heard the continuation of the story of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who were cast out from many of the cities where they ministered and preached the Gospel because of those who incited the crowd against them.
But they remained firm in their resolution and commitment to serve the Lord and went to more places, encouraging the faithful and the disciples of the Lord with the same assurance that God has given them, that suffering and persecution were just among the many things that they had to endure in order to be able to enjoy the fullness of the glory of God’s eternal kingdom.
God is truly leading His disciples down the path that He has showed them, despite it having challenges and difficulties, because that is exactly what He Himself has endured as He was rejected, ridiculed, humiliated, tortured and made to endure the sufferings of many on His shoulders as He lifted up and took up His Cross. If God Himself had suffered for us so grievously and with so much pain and suffering, all the more His followers will also suffer and face similar persecution.
But God assured us all that He will be with us, regardless of what happens to us, and at every moment, be it times of good or times of trouble, He will be by our side, watching over us and protecting us, just as He has been with the Apostles, encouraging them and strengthening then with the power to carry on their duties and responsibilities. And through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles inflamed many others with the same strength and courage, to remain faithful to God.
It was through these examples and inspiring efforts of those who have given themselves to God that many more people became inspired to be courageous in defending their faith and in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. And this includes St. Christopher Magallanes and his many companions who have suffered martyrdom for their dedication to the Lord and for their courage in standing up for their faith.
St. Christopher Magallanes was one of the many martyrs who have died remaining faithful amidst the intense anti-clerical and anti-Christian persecution conducted by the Mexican government in the early twentieth century, just slightly less than a century ago. St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions had to suffer daily harassment and attacks from all those who sought the destruction of the Church, and who targetted the priests and the leaders of the Church.
But they all remained faithful and committed to God, not allowing fear to overcome them. They continued to do what they could in being faithful to God, and for St. Christopher Magallanes and the many other holy priests and shepherds of the Lord’s suffering people to minister to the people of God. They remained firm in their conviction that God was with them, and indeed, God was by their side as they suffered and endured persecution and martyrdom.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired by the examples shown by our holy predecessors and commit ourselves wholeheartedly in the same way as they have done. Let us all not be disheartened and be fearful because of the persecution and the challenges we have to face, but remain firm knowing that God is always by our side. Amen.