The Martyrs of Nagasaki

Homily for Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time

The Martyrs of Nagasaki

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Paul Miki, St. Peter Baptist, and their twenty-five companions. We honor the sacrifice of these native Japanese Catholics and a few foreign missionaries who, in 1597, underwent a forced march of 600 miles to Nagasaki where they were stabbed to death for their faith. Among them were children. As we honor their fortitude in never renouncing Christ, and the charity they demonstrated by forgiving their assassins, we see the wisdom of David’s words to Solomon today. Take courage. Keep the mandate of the Lord.

To be sure, our trials do not even approach the trials of these martyrs. Yet, we all struggle. Our struggles matter in living out our mission of discipleship. The Gospel today relates Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve. It is obvious that they are to trust in God’s providential care as they make their way.

St. John Henry Newman wrote: “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do his work.”

Today’s celebration of the Eucharist offers us the sustenance we all need to perform the service which God asks of each of us. May the martyrs of Nagasaki help us to commit ourselves to our personal mission!

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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