Thursday, July 08, 2021

The Feast of St Augustine Zhao and companion martyrs.

"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."  (Matthew 10: 19 - 20).

Friday 9th July 2021, 14th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine Zhao, Chinese priest and martyr and 119 of his companion martyrs. China continues to persecute the Church. Does China want to achieve a goal that the mighty Roman Empire failed to accomplish? The Third Reich of Adolf Hitler tried to suppress the Church but was suppressed.  Joseph Stalin died while trying to crush what the Bolsheviks called the opium of the people.

The missionary effort of the Church continues worldwide uninterrupted by persecutions and pandemics.

In our key Scripture for today, we see a prophecy of what awaits the disciples as they embark on the apostolic mandate. "As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6).

Jesus also predicted a great deal of victory and consolation for His disciples. Arraignment before governors and magistrates will be an opportunity for them to see the power of the Holy Spirit in their defense. We see the fulfillment of this when Peter and John faced the full Sanhedrin.  We see the same power at play when Paul was before Festus, the Roman high official. Jesus was not kidding. He promises to support His disciples. He does so.

St Augustine Zhao and his companion martyrs defied the rage of the Chinese persecutors. They accepted martyrdom rather than deny their faith. They are enjoying their reward today.

"The movement of persecution that is about to break out against My Church will focus on three objects. In fact, this has already begun. I will be attacked in My priests; they represent My Eucharistic Face. The face of the priesthood is My Face, once again mocked and covered with mud, spittle, and blood. I will be dishonoured in the Sacrament of My Body and Blood. You will see an increase of sins against the mysteries of My Body and Blood: sacrilege, desecrations, and mockeries. I will be attacked in the weakest and most vulnerable members of My Mystical Body. This too has already begun, but it will increase until it reaches proportions that will oblige My Father to avenge the blood of His beloved innocents." (IN SINU JESU pg 91).

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