Today we remember the dedication of North American Martyrs for whom the Good News was more important than their lives
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of Ss. John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs, and their Companions, (October 19, 2020): EPH 2:1-10; PS 100:1-2,3,4-5; LK 12:13-21
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
The eight martyrs we celebrate today underwent great hardship to spread the love and mercy of Jesus to people who had never heard His name.
The North American Martyrs whom we venerate on this feast all laid down their lives during their service as missionaries to the Huron people of Canada and New York. They were killed in the 1640s and named saints in 1930 – the first canonized martyrs on this continent. They all came from France; six were Jesuit priests, the other two were lay missionaries who worked with them. The first to die was one of these laymen, Rene Goupil, near the present town of Auriesville, New York. A few years later, Father Isaac Jogues and Jean de Lalande, the other layperson who was only nineteen when he volunteered to serve with the Jesuits, were also martyred there. The others died in Canada.
The eight martyrs we celebrate today underwent great hardship to spread the love and mercy of Jesus to people who had never heard His name. In the end, they were tortured before giving up their lives in His service because they knew the treasure of their Catholic faith and the promise of eternal life. St. Isaac Jogues wrote: “We begged God to accept our lives and our blood and unite them to His life and His blood for the salvation of these tribes.” We, too, have an obligation to live our beliefs so that we can be an example of Christ within us to everyone we meet. As today’s Psalm reminds us, “Sing joyfully to the Lord all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful song. Know that the Lord is God; He made us, His we are; His people, the flock He tends” (Psalm 100:1-3).
Suggested missionary action: Let us read about the life of a saint, possibly a missionary in this World Mission Month. Let us also ask that saint to intercede on our behalf with our Lord that we grow in holiness and courage in living our faith.