Lord, strengthen the faith and hope of those who live under persecution
3rd Week of Easter : Wednesday 29th April 2020
Acts. 8:1-8; Ps. 66(65):1-3,4-5,6-7;
Jn. 6:35-40 (Ps Wk III)
The opening words of the first reading from Acts, or similar ones, could well have been written for the history of the Church in many countries since the end of World War II.
Communists seized control in the countries of eastern Europe and several Asian countries: “A certain day saw the beginning of great persecution of the Church in Jerusalem.”
“Great persecutions” have been a part of the Church’s history since the beginning. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” This is a saying from the early ages of the Church.
It is both a statement of observed fact as we can see from the consequences of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom, and at the same time an affirmation of hope in the face of persecutions. Unfortunately, not all persecutions are carried out by the Church’s enemies. There are situations where people who claim to be baptised Catholics are the perpetrators of persecutions.
Lord Jesus in Your teachings you warned us that the Church would have to undergo persecutions. Strengthen the faith and hope of those who must live their Catholic lives under the threat of persecution.