21 May – St Christopher Magallanes and his companions
Cristóbal Magallanes Jara was born in the state of Jalisco in Mexico in 1869. He was ordained priest at the age of 30 and became parish priest of his home town of Totatiche. He took a special interest in the evangelization of the local indigenous Huichol people and founded a mission for them. When government persecution of the Catholic Church began and the seminaries were closed, he opened a small local “auxiliary seminary.” He wrote and preached against armed rebellion but was falsely accused of promoting the Cristero rebellion. He was arrested on 21 May 1927 while on the way to celebrate Mass at a farm. He was executed without a trial, but not before giving his remaining possessions to his executioners and giving them absolution.
With him are celebrated 24 other Mexican martyrs of the early 20th century.
Acts 22:30, 23:6-11
Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.
Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.’
May they all be one.
We live in a world of fragmentation and division where everyone wants to be special and different from the rest. This occurs through either a decision to adopt a particular type of dress sense that is out of the norm or, to think in a manner which is unconventional. In doing so, we try to assert our individualism in this world. The readings of today remind us of the importance of remaining faithful to the teachings of the Church and of our belief in Christ.
In the First Reading, St Paul certainly was a man who knew very well the divisions of the doctrine within the Sanhedrin and used it to great effect to save his life. We should not let such divisions occur within our Catholic Church, especially to allow others to come and divide us in our beliefs towards Christ. We need to be careful of people within the Church who seek to destroy it by confusing our understanding of what the doctrines require. Indeed, we can discern the truth of the statements being made by asking the Holy Spirit to guide us in our thinking.
In order to distinguish between the truth and novel inventions seeking to destroy our understanding in the Church, we must remain faithful to prayer, the teachings of our pastors and a continued reading of Sacred Scripture. These actions will allow us to discover what it means to be true Christians, abiding in the knowledge of what God wants us to do.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, let us always remain faithful to your Holy Word.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who continue to transmit the faith.