SS Augustine Zhao Rong, pries & Comps
14th Week in Ordinary Time : Thursday 9th July 2020
Hos. 11:1-4,8-9; Ps. 79:2,3,15-16;
Mt. 10:7-15 (Ps Wk II)
Jesus tells us that we are all called to go ahead and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. While most of us who follow Jesus are not going to be sold into bondage or suffer persecution to prove God’s truth, yet many have endured suffering, persecution and martyrdom.
Let us recall the saints of today. Father Augustine Zhao, a Chinese Diocesan Priest who with 119 companions were martyred during the Boxer Rising in China. Besides them, there were several laypersons, including young children who were martyred during the persecutions of Christians in Asian countries.
The Church needs to remember and honour these laypeople, who laid down their lives for Christ, proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. The inspiring stories of martyrs such as Saint Anna Wang a 14-year-old Chinese girl was killed during the Boxer Rebellion when she refused to apostatise. She bravely withstood the threats of her torturers, and just as she was about to be beheaded, she radiantly declared, “The door of heaven is open to all” and repeated the name of Jesus three times.
These laypeople martyrs deserve to be recognised and recounted more often for the inspiration of all, especially the new converts and those who still think of Christianity as a “foreign” religion.
Martyr Saints of Asia, before the Father in heaven, intercede for the Church in Asia and especially those who even today are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. Amen.