Jesuit seminarian Paul Miki went to his martyrdom proclaiming his faith. On February 6, 1597, he and 25 companions, clergy and lay, were killed for their faith in Nagasaki, Japan. They were suspended on crosses and killed by spears thrust through the heart. Before his death, Paul affirmed his faith in Christ and offered forgiveness to those responsible for his death. This persecution was triggered by a nationalist fear of foreigners: for almost the next 200 years, Japan would be closed to the rest of the world. Despite this isolation, the faith survived without any priests and with only the sacrament of baptism. Paul Miki and his companions were canonized in 1862. Paul Miki is the patron saint of Japan.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
Now many saw them going and recognized them and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. Mark 6:33
What impels the people to pursue Jesus with such determination? I suggest two things: his teachings and his person. His teachings on love, faith, forgiveness, prayer and justice touched the people to their core. They wanted more. And his very being embodied all the things he taught. What prompts us to pursue Jesus? Isn’t it the same things? His message resonates in our hearts; his person draws us to become ever more like him. Following Jesus—to embody his teachings—is the work of a lifetime. But what, after all, is a lifetime? It is merely a stringing together of a bunch of todays. Jesus, help me to pursue you with determination and follow you with great love – just for today.