We Are Still a Church of Martyrs


The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians.

So wrote Tertullian at the end of the second century.

And so it is again today:

A Dutch [Jesuit] priest well known for refusing to leave the besieged Syrian city of Homs has been shot dead by a gunman.

Frans van der Lugt, who was in his 70s, had become a renowned figure in the rebel-held area that has been blockaded by government forces for nearly two years.

He had refused to be evacuated, saying he would not leave Homs while there were still Christians in the city.

The motive behind Fr van der Lugt’s killing is unclear.

And in all this, the witness provided by today’s Gospel rings in my ears:
“The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Today, I pray for the members of the Society of Jesus who have lost a good and holy priest, the Christians of Homs who have lost their pastor, and those who killed Fr. van der Lugt that their hearts may be converted.
And I pray to and through Fr. van der Lugt that through his example and intercession – and yes, through his blood – God’s Holy People will grow ever deeper in their devotion to God Almighty as well as their brothers and sisters.

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