The 2,000-year bloody line of martyrs for the Christian faith began with St. Stephen, whose feast we celebrate today. The grim scenario which Jesus predicted and warned His followers about in today’s Gospel is chronicled in the first reading from Acts.
I don’t know all the reasons for hating Christians enough to kill them. Tragically ironic, isn’t it, that people whose faith preaches love should be hunted down and murdered? (We have to acknowledge, however, that historically many Christians have failed terribly at being loving, even to the point of killing non-Christians.) Christian martyrdom isn’t a thing of the past. Each year about 105,000 Christians are martyred specifically for the faith — one every five minutes. Prayers for Christians who live in constant peril are in order.
Prayer: O holy martyrs, help today’s persecuted Christians be strong.