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Friday, February 3, 2006

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St. Blase
St. Ansgar

Sirach 47:2-11
Psalm 18:31, 47, 50-51
Mark 6:14-29

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seeing red

"He promptly dispatched an executioner, ordering him to bring back the Baptizer's head. The man went and beheaded John in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl." —Mark 6:27-28

This week the Church has been seeing red, blood red. We remember the bloody deaths of Sts. John the Baptizer, Blase, Agatha, Paul Miki and companions. From Jerusalem, to Japan, to Rome, from the time of Christ to the present day, Christians have been laying down their lives for and in imitation of the Master, Jesus.

At this moment, thousands of Christians await execution, and many have already died today. We live in an age of martyrs. Never before in almost two thousand years of Christianity has the "quota" of martyrs been so quickly filled (Rv 6:11). This is one of the signs that we are nearing the end of the world and Christ's second coming (Lk 21:12). Communists, Muslims, the secularists, and others rage against Christians across most of the world. Some, like Herod, use brutality and violence (Mk 6:28). Others use a subtle approach, even more devastating than murder-martyrdoms.

Let us never forget these brothers and sisters following the Master literally to death. Let's pray that their witness bears great fruit and that they persevere to the end.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank You for martyrs dying today. Strengthen them with fresh hope and courage.

Promise:  "With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise. With his whole being he loved his Maker and daily had His praises sung." —Sir 47:8

Praise:  St. Blase served as a bishop in Armenia and died for his faith in Jesus.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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