Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chinese Martyrs and the Call of the Twelve

Yesterday was the feast of the Chinese Martyrs: St. Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions. The Gospel reading for Mass was the Call of the Twelve from Matthew's Gospel. I find these two events to be related, for at the key moments in our life, God calls us by name to follow after Him.

Our Baptism was not just done in some abstract way, but with a purposeful call of 'Kyle,' I baptize you in the name of the FAther and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I've seen in several parishes that children are 'called to the Table' for their First Communion. At Confirmation, we are called by a new name to signify that we are now soldiers for Christ. At weddings and ordinations, again the name is used for the new identity.

In the Gosepl account, Jesus calls His Diciples by name to give them a unique and a special mission and to consecrate them for their mission to go forth and proclaim the Kingdom.

In the example and witness of the Chinese Martyrs, we see how this being called and consecrated to God is played out. The 120 individuals willingly gave their life in witness to Christ. In fact, the Ordo recounted the testimony of one young man who, as his arm was being torn off, boldly responded: every ounce of my flesh, every drop of my blood, will testify that I am a Christian!

Would that we all had the same courage and conviction as this young man.

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