Gospel: Lk 12:39-48
Pay attention to this: If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”
Peter said, “Lord, did you tell this parable only for us, or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Imagine, then, the wise and faithful steward, whom the master sets over his other servants, to give them wheat at the proper time. Fortunate is this servant if his master, on coming home, finds him doing his work. Truly, I say to you, the master will put him in charge of all his property.
But it may be that the steward thinks, ‘My Lord delays in coming,’ and he begins to abuse the male servants and the servant girls, eating and drinking and getting drunk. Then the master will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he doesn’t know. He will cut him off, and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knew his master’s will, but did not prepare and do what his master wanted, will be soundly beaten; but the one who does unconsciously what deserves punishment, shall receive fewer blows. Much will be required of the one who has been given much, and more will be asked of the one who has been entrusted with more.
Today we are remembering eight of the most heroic martyrs who ever gave their lives for Christ. All eight men were of French origin, all working in the mission area known as New France (now part of Canada and the United States). Six were Jesuit priests and two were unpaid lay helpers. All were martyred between 1642 and 1649—five of them in present-day Canada, and three near Auriesville, N.Y.
These men encountered unimaginable hardships in terms of climate conditions, hunger and exposure to the elements. They covered hundreds of kilometers in fragile canoes made of skin, they had to trek through impenetrable forests. They had to learn the difficult language of the Huron Indians. From 1636 to 1641, the mission lived in a constant climate of threats, persecution and attempted murder. Only after six years of backbreaking work was Brébeuf able to baptize one healthy adult.
All these men were formed by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and all had an ardent desire to be united to Christ crucified. Their desire was gloriously fulfilled by their heroic death. Let us ask the Lord for a share in their courage to live out our Christian faith.