OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
KING OF THE UNIVERSE
34th and Last Sunday in
Ordinary Time – C
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory
Memorial and full set of orations is on Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Martyr, & Companions, Martyrs. Since their Feast Day, November 24, is Thanksgiving, we cannot use their orations this year. However, the convergence of their Feast, Thanksgiving, and Christ the King, bids us to ask if we, who call Christ our King and give thanks for God’s countless blessings, are as committed to our Catholic Faith as were the 118 Vietnamese Martyrs the rest of the Church honors this week.
Among these martyrs, executed between 1820 and 1862 and canonized by Saint John Paul in 1988, were 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spaniards, 10 Frenchmen; 8 Bishops, 50 Priests, 59 Lay Catholics; one was only 9 years old. They are represented by a man born Dung An Trân
to a poor, pagan family who moved to Hanoi where he met a Catechist who taught him the Faith. Baptized with the Christian name Andrew, he became a Catechist and was Ordained a Priest in 1823; two years later he was imprisoned. His Parish ‘purchased’ his release [a vile demand from the Church’s persecutors] which they did more than once; he changed his name to Andrew Lac, but was arrested again, suffered dreadful tortures and beheaded on December 21, 1839. He and his Companions, in turn, represent the estimated 130,000 Vietnamese Christians
killed from 1625 to 1886 and an additional 170,000 Christians who were persecuted but lived to tell the story!
Collect – Saint Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions
O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions faithful to the Cross of your Son, even to the shedding of their blood, grant, through their intercession, that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be your children both in name and in truth.
Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.
DO WE SUFFER FOR OUR FAITH?
The lives of the Saints certainly challenge us who, by comparison, have it so easy! For in many places, past and present, Christians lose their jobs, their property and possessions, and even their life – as seen in the recent beheadings of Christians and others. Our ‘excuses’ for missing Mass and not being more active in – and generous to – our Church are inexcusable: soccer, second homes, travel, time constraints, conflicts, inconvenience, leisure, etc. May God – and the Martyrs – forgive us for our foolishness and laziness!
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Andrew Dung-Lac
Receive, O holy Father, the offerings we bring
as we venerate the passion of the holy Martyrs,
so that amid the trials of this life we may
always be found faithful and may offer ourselves to you as an acceptable sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
DO TRIALS STRENGTHEN OR DESTROY US?
The reasons people give for no longer practicing the Faith are downright silly, if not ludicrous! Over the years, I have heard these often ‘lame excuses’ for leaving the Church: “I don’t like the music” … “‘Father or Sister So-and-So’ said or did this, that or the other thing” … “I was never thanked, praised, appreciated, honored or mentioned in the bulletin” etc., etc., etc.! Again, may God – and the Martyrs
– forgive us for our selfish, silly, so-called ‘excuses!’
Prayer after Communion – Saint Andrew Dung-Lac
Renewed by the one Bread as we commemorate the holy Martyrs, we humbly beseech you,
O Lord, that, abiding as one in your love,
we may merit by endurance an eternal prize.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
HELP US ENDURE UNTIL HEAVEN!
Like many other countries, Vietnam has endured violent, brutal persecutions, and unspeakable horrors we cannot even imagine. Yet, as is often the case, it is in lands torn by sin and corruption that the Faith flourishes and grows! Not surprisingly, while we have fewer vocations, these ‘persecuted’ lands now send us their excess vocations! As we give our children and loved ones all they need to succeed in this life, may we also give them the greatest gift of all: the gift of our Catholic Faith! Saint Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS