Jun 30 – First Martyrs of the Church of Rome
These holy men and women are also called the “Protomartyrs of Rome”. They were accused of burning Rome by Nero, who burned Rome to cover his own crimes. Some martyrs were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified, and others were fed to wild animals. These martyrs died before Sts. Peter and Paul, and are called “disciples of the Apostles. . . whom the Holy Roman church sent to their Lord before the Apostles’ death”.
The Lord has pitilessly destroyed
all the homes of Jacob;
in his displeasure he has shattered
the strongholds of the daughter of Judah;
he has thrown to the ground,
he has left accursed the kingdom and its rulers.
Mutely they sit on the ground,
the elders of the daughter of Zion;
they have put dust on their heads,
and wrapped themselves in sackcloth.
The virgins of Jerusalem hang their heads
down to the ground.
My eyes wasted away with weeping,
my entrails shuddered,
my liver spilled on the ground
at the ruin of the daughters of my people,
as children, mere infants, fainted
in the squares of the Citadel.
They kept saying to their mothers,
‘Where is the bread?’
as they fainted like wounded men
in the squares of the City,
as they poured out their souls
on their mothers’ breasts.
How can I describe you, to what compare you,
daughter of Jerusalem?
Who can rescue and comfort you,
virgin daughter of Zion?
For huge as the sea is your affliction;
who can possibly cure you?
The visions your prophets had on your behalf
were delusive, tinsel things,
they never pointed out your sin,
to ward off your exile.
The visions they proffered you were false,
Cry aloud, then, to the Lord,
groan, daughter of Zion;
let your tears flow like a torrent,
day and night;
give yourself no relief,
grant your eyes no rest.
Up, cry out in the night-time,
in the early hours of darkness;
pour your heart out like water
before the Lord.
Stretch out your hands to him
for the lives of your children
who faint with hunger at the entrance to every street.
When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.
And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:
He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.
“I will come myself and cure him”
My wife and I recently went through a course where I validated my suspicion that I am kinesthetic, which means I experience the world through my feelings and emotions. I look at the world and basically ask myself how I feel about it, unconsciously of course. If it does not sit well with me, then I never quite get comfortable.
It is that way with my faith too. I started going to church (a Protestant one) when I was about 12, but for many years, I never actually felt God’s presence. In my mind, I prayed and prayed but never really experienced HIS presence. Years later, I spoke with a priest, who advised me that we do face periods of dryness and that all I needed to do was to work through the period. Over time, I came to believe it was natural for one to feel no one was listening when one was praying.
My experience of God changed dramatically when I attended the Conversion Experience Retreat. While not giving away the contents of the retreat, I came out experiencing God differently. Every time I pray now, I feel God is there with me, listening to and being with me.
In the Gospel of today, we see how our Lord Jesus interacted with the centurion, Peter and his mother-in-law as well as the other people. We see how people interacted with Jesus in His daily life as a person.
The people of Jesus’ time got to learn from and experience Him because they actually got to meet with Him. Perhaps, if we could also do the same, we would be able to experience our faith to a fuller extent. Many times, we forget that our God is there simply because we are unable to see Him. If we imagined Him physically with us in the same room with us, it would be a whole new experience.
Our faith was never meant to be a mental exercise. Instead, it should be fully experienced physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally; in all aspects of our lives. It is only then we can fully learn what it means to be a Christian.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: We pray that we will be able to experience God in all aspects of our lives. We pray for a deeper and more complete understanding of our faith.
Thanksgiving: We praise You and thank You, Lord, for showing the way to live as Christians. Thank You for being the best example for us.