Lord, how your people are suffering. I was praying for and remembering all of the body of Christ this morning at Mass, particularly with the horrendous event of the bombing in the Coptic cathedral last week during Mass fresh on my mind. They are our brothers and sisters, and I don’t want to forget them, or neglect to pray and fast for them. I also recalled when Fr.Jacques Hamil was martyred and others attacked while celebrating Mass in a chapel in France this past summer. After that vicious incident, Muslims across France attended Mass as a beautiful gesture of solidarity with Catholics – we are one, and indeed, most of the world is one as we watch, aghast and in horror, the brutality that humanity inflicts on one another.
Jesus has told us, “…the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.” Recall the faith, courage, and endurance of the 21 Coptic martyrs, who were kidnapped and then beheaded by ISIS. The recording was released showing the shameful acts of terror, along with a threatening “Message to the Nation of the Cross.” It is so moving to know that each of these men was given a chance to deny their faith in Christ, but did not, and paid the ultimate price. The 21st man was not originally a Christian, but upon seeing the steadfast faith of the others, when given his chance, simply said, “Their God is my God,” knowing that he, too, would lose his life. How desperate all of these acts of violence and destruction are. They obviously have no idea, no clue whatsoever, who God is, and that they simply cannot destroy Him. And this – having 21 of them together was certainly a mistake. These brothers strengthened each other in faith and courage. They can destroy our churches, imprison us, remove us from the public square, take away our jobs, mock us, scoff at us, tell us that God does not exist, that we do not need a Savior, and ultimately, they can kill us. But, it doesn’t work. Jesus told us to expect this, and not to be afraid. He provides grace for the moment. I, for one, only pray that I can be courageous, and endure, even half as well as these have. Yes, Lord, I will drink the cup, if only you enable me.
Please enjoy this beautiful response to the evil. It is “Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? (A Letter from the People of the Cross). But much more than a letter. Love is coming. Love is coming after you, and me, and all of us. The victory is already decided and already won. It is everyone’s. Nobody is excluded. Are we ready to accept it?
Please keep our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer. Don’t forget them or abandon them. They are us. We are them.