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March 7, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: Luke 9: 22-25 -
And he added, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law, and be put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life.”
Jesus also said to all the people, “If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me! For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. What does it profit you to gain the whole world, if you destroy or damage yourself?

“Deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me!”

Saints like Perpetua and Felicity faced death in the arena for declaring their faith in Christ. Martyrdom—bearing   witness at the cost of one’s life—was the origin of the cult of saints. In laying down their lives for the sake of Christ, the martyrs showed their powerful faith in the resurrection. Their blood, as Tertullian said, “was the seed of the church.”
As the era of persecution re- ceded it became clear that there were other ways of demonstrating heroic faith—through lives of service, prayer, and selfless devotion. Nevertheless, the era of martyrdom has never passed. Among recently beatified saints is  Archbishop  Oscar  Romero of San Salvador, who was shot by a death squad while saying Mass in 1980. Although his killers called themselves Christians, they were motivated by hatred for the gospel as expressed through his devotion to justice and the cause of the poor. Pope Francis has recently extended the categories of holiness to recognize all those who sacrifice their lives for others. As Jesus said, “No greater love has a man than that he lay down his life for his friends.”

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