21 May – Memorial for Ss Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Companions, Martyrs
“Long live Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe!”
This was the slogan of the “Cristero” uprising in the 1920’s against the anti-Catholic government of Mexico in the 1920’s which had instituted and enforced laws against the Church in an absurd attempt to eradicate the Catholic faith in Mexico, even going so far as to ban all foreign clergy and the celebration of Mass in some regions.
St. Christopher Magallanes and 21 other priests and three lay companions were martyred between 1915 and 1937, by shooting or hanging, throughout eight Mexican states, for their membership in the Cristero movement. Magallanes erected a seminary in Totatiche and he and his companions secretly preached and ministered to the faithful.
The last words heard spoken by Magallanes were from his cell, when he shouted, “I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico”.
Pope John Paul II beatified the Cristero martyrs in 1992 and canonized them in 2000.
– Catholic News Agency
Acts of the Apostles 13:44-52
The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:
I have made you a light for the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’
It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?
‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.’
Whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself
In my secondary school, discipline was a key issue. Every teacher stated the rules and followed them through together. When any of us students infringed on the rules, every teacher meted out the same consequences. This was to show the students that everyone was of one mind. As a teacher now, I am learning the importance of this. If students do not do as they believe in terms of discipline, it is easy to get away with things. Just follow the rules in front of the stricter teachers and break them with the rest.
In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells Philip that those who believe in Him will perform the same works as He does. This is a promise with regards to the ability to perform the same signs and miracles. At another level it also calls on the disciples to emulate Him in His salvific work. This was what the Paul and Barnabas and the pagans of Antioch did. Was it the two apostles who caused the word to spread through the countryside? The first reading indicates it was those pagans who heard them and in turn spread the Word.
All of us who have at least worked in a team know the importance of all members having a common belief and acting on that belief. Our identify as Christians requires no less. It is vital that everyone sees all Christians truly practicing what we preach. My brothers and sisters, in striving towards our inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, may we also take on our share of the kingdom’s work of salvation for humanity.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)
Prayer: We pray for a real faith that manifests as good works.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for being one in heart and mind with us.
Sun, 22 May – Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12; Fifth Sunday of Easter