Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Today the Church honors the memory of Saint Paul Miki and his companions. Paul Miki was born in Japan between around 1565. He entered the Jesuit order and preached the Gospel with great success, bringing the message of Jesus Christ to many. When persecution of Christians became oppressive, he was arrested along with 25 other companions, tortured, then taken to Nagasaki and crucified. St. Paul Miki died at the age of 34. Fear of persecution did not deter these brave Christians from openly witnessing to Jesus, swaying others to believe in Him.
Christians today who are bold enough to witness to their faith may not be nailed to a cross in one large act of martyrdom, but face less dramatic martyrdom daily, as others ridicule their lifestyle and message. They may not be gathered together and carted off for torture, but every effort is made to push them to the sidelines of public life and silence their voices in the marketplace. Rest assured, it is no easier now in a society that reveres “tolerance” than for any Christian who has preached the Gospel in any age or any place.
When Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI call for a “new evangelization” in our world it is because the world has become complacent in the face of a barrage of news, de-sensitized to the radicalness of the Good News. Saint Paul Miki and his companions are perfect role models for us, for their courage to respond to God’s invitation to speak the Truth boldly to a world that did not want to hear it.
Don’t ask yourself if you would have done the same back then: are you doing it now?

Rev. Msgr. William J. King

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