September 28, 2017
Feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs
The Gospel Today
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
Reflection (Sem. Rodel O. Aclan)
“Hindi na uso ang martir” (martyrdom is no longer in fashion). We often hear this phrase as an advice for a person who is suffering in his or her relationship or even from a task that demands so much. But, is martyrdom all about sufferings and sacrifices only? Yes, martyrs did suffer but the suffering is endured out of a firm and steadfast conviction, out of faith. Suffering for the martyrs is not entirely imposed on them but are accepted and endured in faith.
Our generation, where almost everything is instant, has become alien to difficulties. Any form of suffering is to be rejected. We want nothing but comfort. Thus, it is not a surprise that we reduced martyrdom to mere hardships or difficulties in life void of any goodness for us.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, a martyr, it is good to remind ourselves of his story. He was not a trained missionary when he joined the Dominican missionaries bound for Japan. He left his family to save them from possible hardships because of the false accusations labelled against him. Leaving them started his own suffering, yet, he did it for them. When he and the other missionaries were captured and tortured, he could have accepted the terms given to him, renounce his faith and he will live. But pain and sufferings did not break his faith. He embraced them, and even offered a thousand lives more if he had them for his faith; for his love of Jesus.
Our generation is giving martyrdom a bad name, which is a mere suffering. Christian martyrdom is never only about pain and suffering; rather it is about faith and love. That is why, Christian martyrdom is not only limited to giving up one’s life for faith, but it can also be manifested in our willingness and joyful acceptance of our daily crosses.