There is an ancient pious expression that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. Usually when we hear that, we think of those first three hundred years when the Church was oppressed so cruelly or we may think about places such as Egypt, the Sudan, Indonesia and other modern countries that have laws that make living a Christian life difficult and frequently dangerous. Several such countries made becoming a Christian a crime subject to the death penalty. Well, here is something in-between.
Next Sunday is Mission Sunday and the Church across the world has to examine itself in terms of whether or not it is doing all that it can to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given to it to go out into the whole world and preach the Gospel to everyone. My friends, that is really a directive from our Lord and places responsibility on each one of us. Regretfully, most of us do not take it too seriously. We think that putting $10 in the collection plate, when it is passed on World Mission Sunday when a visiting missioner speaks at our parish, more or less covers our obligation for a missionary response. Many do considerably more by getting involved in special programs to help specific poor and distant missions, but most of us are somewhat indifferent to our mission responsibility. On Mission Sunday we must remember that having received the faith ourselves we share a responsibility to bring it to the whole world.
Today is the Feast of Saints John Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, two wonderful French Jesuit missionaries who came to the New World, not to work among the European settlers but for and with the Indians of today’s New York State. They made great progress but the Hurons were overrun by the Iroquois Mohawks. Isaac Jogues was captured, tortured and nearly killed, but he survived and returned to France. However, within a few months of rest he was heading back to his mission. On October 18th, he was tomahawked in the neck. His companions were killed with him. St. John Brébeuf and other Jesuits were killed at about the same time in Canada.
Want to help the Church to grow? Imagine leaving your family, your home and going to the other side of the world to tell the world about God’s love for the human family and the risks that are involved. Maybe we should be putting a larger check into that collection plate.
Share on Facebook
The Society of Jesus, most popularly known as the Jesuits, is one of the strongest and most important religious communities in the Catholic Church.
Image from http://edublogs.riverview.nsw.edu.au/yr7re5/files/2010/09/isaac-jogues-image1.jpg
Founded by Ignatius Loyola, it grew rapidly and actively involved itself in every activity of Church life. Today, when we think of the Jesuits, many of us tend to think of the Jesuits as academicians teaching in the many colleges and universities that they have established across the world. They have 27 separate universities just in the United States. What an accomplishment!
However, the Jesuits are also among the greatest missionaries in the life of the Church over the last four centuries. This week, we are reminded of that fact because today we celebrate the memory of St. John de Brebeauf and St. Isaac Jogues, two extraordinary missionaries who courageously worked among the Huron Indians in Canada and the Iroquois in New York. After years of exhausting missionary activity, these two brave men would ultimately be killed by the people among whom they were working.
Some of us wake up on Sunday morning and if there is a hard rain, we decide that we will cut Mass this week and “catch up” next Sunday. When we are faced with a temptation like that, we ought to think about the extraordinary generosity of those who helped to build the faith in North America. The Jesuits were among the best!
Share on Facebook