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where have all the martyrs gone?
"When they bring you before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourself." —Luke 12:11
Today the Church celebrates the feast of a martyr, St. Ignatius of Antioch. The word martyr means "witness," but has come to denote a person killed for their faith in Jesus. Martyrs are so devoted to Jesus and the spread of His Good News that instead of giving up their witness to Jesus, they give up their life for Jesus. They depend on faith (Rm 4:16), never despairing in the face of persecution and suffering.
Whether or not we are put to death for our faith in Jesus, we are all called to give our lives for Him. Pope Francis has taught that to be a Christian, we must have the hallmarks of the cross. We must acknowledge Jesus before all mankind and bear our cross so people can see His life manifested in our lives (Lk 12:9; 2 Cor 4:11).
Abraham was not a martyr, but he gave his life for the Lord, bearing hardship for Him. All of us are called to be like Abraham, carrying our cross for God (Lk 9:23). We follow the footsteps of the Lord wherever He leads, denying ourselves so as to take on the interests of God (see Phil 2:21).
You are liable to be persecuted if you choose to live for Jesus (2 Tm 3:12). However, "fear nothing" (Lk 12:7). You have a Savior Who is for you, not against you (Rm 8:31). "Do not worry" (Lk 12:11). "The Holy Spirit will teach you" what you should say (Lk 12:12). Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:2). Be His witnesses, that is, His martyrs.
Prayer: Father, give me the confidence to say and live, "The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid; What can man do to me?" (Heb 13:6)
Promise: "Whoever acknowledges Me before men — the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God." —Lk 12:8
Praise: St. Ignatius was quoted, "May I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015
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