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Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. — Psalm 24:(see 6)
Mass Readings: Revelation 7:2-4,9-14 / 1 John 3:1-3 / Matthew 5:1-12
So many of the saints we celebrate today are “blessed,” as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, because they were insulted, persecuted and even killed. There is a long line of them — from Stephen (Acts 7:54-60) to the 50 unnamed Nigerian Catholics killed by bombs placed by Muslim extremists in Catholic churches on Christmas 2011. Mortally wounded, some begged their pastor to anoint them before they died.
Few of us will face being killed for our faith. Instead, it’s the niggling little insults and criticisms that can “kill” our enthusiasm and diminish our joy. But most of us occasionally face verbal “persecutions” that can plant discouragement and doubts. “I go where I’m fed,” disaffected Catholic friends announce, challenging our “foolish” loyalty to a “boring” parish and “dysfunctional” Church. Persevere, stay faithful, Jesus urges us.
Prayer: Jesus, You promised a great reward for the persecutions we suffer for You. We rejoice!
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