The Faith of Martyrs
What is faith? According to the Letter to the Hebrews, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (RSV Hebrews 11:1)
Faith assures us of things that we hope for – not necessarily that what we ask for will be granted in the way we expect it, but that it will be granted in the way that God deems best for us.
Faith is the unwavering conviction of the things we believe in – particularly in things we do not see or have not seen. For example, we believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, even though what we see is only the form of bread and wine. Faith applies also to things we have not experienced. For example, some people may have experienced the extraordinary presence of God at one point or another in their lives, but those who haven’t but still have an unwavering conviction that God is present in their lives have faith.
Is our faith based on what we have seen or experienced in life? If so, remember what Jesus said to Thomas: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)
Chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews gives an inspiring account of the faith of notable persons in the Old Testament: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that all of them died in faith; they did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)
The Letter to the Hebrews also tells us about the judges, the prophets and the Maccabean martyrs of the Old Testament; they did not accept deliverance even when tortured, in order to obtain a better resurrection. They endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point. The world was not worthy of them. Yet, they did not receive what had been promised, for God had foreseen something better for them. (cf. Hebrews 11:36-40) What God had in store for all these persons of faith that is better than anything else on earth was eternal life.
The same holds true for the Holy Martyr Saints of China, whose feast day we celebrate today. A total of 120 martyrs were canonized as Saints. They died from the 17th century to 1930. These martyrs include 87 native Chinese and 33 foreign missionaries; among the 87 were 4 Chinese priests, lay men, women and children with ages ranging from 9 to 72. Among them were the 9-year olds St. Andrew Wang Tianqing and St. Paul Lang Fu, 11-year old St. Mary Zheng Xu, and the 14-year olds St. Anna Wang and St. Simon Qin Cunfu. These Chinese martyrs were forerunners to about 30,000 others who were martyred during the Boxer Rebellion in China which began in the late 19th century.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has set the date for the Eucharistic Congress on June 17-18, 2022. According to Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, the archdiocese will gather for a Eucharistic Congress every other year. In the years without a Eucharistic Congress, we will shift this wonderful celebration to the parishes. In this way, we can go forth as disciples into our communities and share the joy of the Lord with everyone.
Our church will have a garage sale on July 24 from 8am to 2pm. The garage sale will be open to the public, so we need a number of volunteers to be present. We especially need people to help set up at 7:30am, and to help clean up after 2pm. If you can help for an hour or two, please sign-up with Angela Lau. PLEASE NOTE: This will be a CLEARANCE GARAGE SALE to get rid of all the old stuff in the social hall and storage room. EVERYTHING MUST GO, THEREFORE, PLEASE DO NOT BRING ANYTHING TO CHURCH FOR THE GARAGE SALE.
Vacation Bible School will be on Saturday, July 17. This parish event begins at 1:00pm and ends at 4:00pm. All children from grades 1-8 are welcome. Please register with Mrs. Long Che Chan.
- The Pastoral Council will meet next Sunday after the 10:30am Mass in the Conference Room. All Pastoral Council members are requested to attend either in person or via virtual meeting.
- Immediately after Mass today, Fr. Bill will celebrate the Anointing of the Sick in the main church.