Reflection: The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. Have you ever made significant sacrifices for holding onto your faith?
Prayer: Ask God for the kind of faith found in martyrs so that you can bear witness during challenging times. Also ask God to protect missionaries from harm.
Action: Do not be afraid to bear witness for your faith in the midst of trials. Trust that God will protect and take care of Christians.
Acts of the Apostles
Herod's Persecution of the Christians.
About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, 3 and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (It was [the] feast of Unleavened Bread.) 4He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. 5 Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.
6 On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. 7 Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. 8 The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” 9 So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. 11Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that [the] Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who is called Mark, where there were many people gathered in prayer. 13 When he knocked on the gateway door, a maid named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 She was so overjoyed when she recognized Peter's voice that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They told her, “You are out of your mind,” but she insisted that it was so. But they kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16 But Peter continued to knock, and when they opened it, they saw him and were astounded. 17 He motioned to them with his hand to be quiet and explained [to them] how the Lord had led him out of the prison, and said, “Report this to James and the brothers.” Then he left and went to another place. 18 At daybreak there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 Herod, after instituting a search but not finding him, ordered the guards tried and executed. Then he left Judea to spend some time in Caesarea.
20 He had long been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, who now came to him in a body. After winning over Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they sued for peace because their country was supplied with food from the king's territory. 21 On an appointed day, Herod, attired in royal robes, [and] seated on the rostrum, addressed them publicly. 22 The assembled crowd cried out, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not ascribe the honor to God, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. 24 But the word of God continued to spread and grow.
Mission of Barnabas and Saul.
25 After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem, taking with them John, who is called Mark.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
Source: Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church (Toronto) – Bible Study Program – 2006-2007 – Edmond Lo
Luke's account of Herod Agrippa's death in 12:21-23 is corroborated by the Jewish historian Josephus. Why did Herod Agrippa die as he did? Whom does Herod Agrippa's death remind you of? (Read 2 Mac 9:5-12)
James the Apostle and James the Less
King Herod and the Church Suffering from her 2nd Persecution
- Why was James' vacant position not filled?
- The Family History of King Herod
- The Church prays fervently for Peter: Why should Christians pray for each other?
- The delivery of Peter and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt are very similar > Just as God's people in the OT must be released from slavery and the Egyptians so as to enjoy freedom during Passover, the NT Church must free herself from the laws of the Jews after her birth during Passover, so as to become a truly catholic church
Acts of the Apostles
Herod's Persecution of the Christians. / Herod's Death. / Mission of Barnabas and Saul.
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