Salt and Light
Today’s Gospel provides us with an example of Jesus recruiting disciples to assist him with his mission. Son of God though he is, building the Kingdom requires workers who are united in their commitment to heed Jesus’ call and who in turn can inspire others to join them. Many have gone before us and worked hard to ensure the Lord’s words would be transmitted to each succeeding generation. Some even gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. This brings to mind several lesser known saints whose feast day was celebrated on Thursday - Saint Paul Miki and his companions. They were priests, brothers, Franciscans, and Jesuits, doctors, artisans, old men and innocent children - all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.
The son of a wealthy military leader, Paul Miki was born in 1562 and entered the Church along with the rest of his family. He joined the Jesuits as a young man and helped many Buddhists to embrace Christianity. Paul Miki offered an especially strong witness to his faith during a month-long march to Nagasaki, Japan as he and his companions joined captive Franciscan priests in preaching to the crowds who came to mock the prisoners.
On February 5, 1597, Brother Paul along with twenty five companions were crucified on what is now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. His last act of evangelism took place as he hung on his cross, preaching to the crowds. “The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ.”
It is unlikely that we will be called to suffer physical martyrdom, but we can practice martyrdom of spirit every day, by always seeking the good of others first rather than that of ourselves. In serving others, we satisfy the Lord’s call to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” So let’s continue to do our part as disciples on mission, letting our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father!