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”.
‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’…Even the winds and the sea obey him.’
Today we read about how God has a plan and purpose for everything.
“Do two men take the road together
if they have not planned to do so?
Does the lion roar in the jungle
if no prey has been found?
Does the young lion growl in his lair
if he has captured nothing?…”
In the first reading, it also says that it is for our sins that we are punished. Every action has its consequence. When we break the law, or make mistakes, or fail to obey, we too have to face the consequences and punishments accordingly. More importantly, we need to understand why what we are doing is wrong or we will feel hard done by the punishments. One thing we can be sure of is that God will not punish unnecessarily, especially when He’s always desiring to love us.
Some would see the current COVID-19 situation as a punishment, some would see it as a blessing. Yes there are good and bad outcomes from this. This situation shouldn’t just be about ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ but how we have allowed ourselves to go down this path. Should we not realise where we have gone wrong in our lives, then it really doesn’t make a difference to be saved for we may end up back in the same situation again, as it is happening with some countries who have relaxed their safe distancing or lockdown measures. There are also rules that need to be adhered to for if not so, it will affect the people around them as well; that is why when these rules are broken, punishment is meted out as well.
Do we know where we have gone wrong in our lives? For even when we are ‘punished’, it seems that we are not realising, nor learning. Whether we choose to see the current COVID-19 situation as a punishment or a blessing, one word in the Gospel stands out — FAITH.
Maybe instead of COVID-19, our vaccine should be FAITH-20.
Christ reminds us that nothing is impossible with Him, that there is nothing to fear for He is here with us.
Indeed it is easier said than done, for we are trained to see before we believe. But even in today’s context, we can’t believe what we see with fake news, fake reporting, the calibre of world leaders, the actions taken and reasons behind them. Maybe it’s better to not see sometimes. In a world where most may have lost hope and faith in man, this will be the best time to put our hope and faith in God. For ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for courage during these times of uncertainty and anxiety; it is just so hard to trust in You. We don’t feel you, we can’t go to church even, we don’t see your hand in our lives. When you created the best opportunity to be at home, to have time to be with family and to be still and to reflect and pray, we do everything else but that. Dear Lord, we pray for strength to hold on to you instead of our worldly desires. We ask that You may give us Your assurance in Your own way. Help us to see as you see, to know Your plan for us. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the many frontline workers who have stepped forward. Thank you for the good leaders in the world. Thank you for the lesser leaders as well, for it is from those we can learn from. Thank you for this challenge. Thank you for allowing it to happen even though it would hurt you the most seeing us in this state. Sometimes it is through punishment that we are more resilient, more grateful, more loving. Help us Lord, to be more like You. Amen.