Thought for the Day – 30 June – The Memorial of The First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome
Nero became the emperor of Rome in 54. About 10 years later, he began to persecute the Christians. When a terrible fire broke out in the city, Nero accused the Christians of causing it. He increased his efforts to destroy them. Nero had Christians covered with pitch and set on fire to light the way for his night drive through the park. He had some Christians sewn into animal skins and left in the woods so that he and his guests could go hunting for them. In the two centuries after Nero, thousands of Christians were put to death. All these unnamed martyrs are honoured on this day, after the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, both of course Martyrs for their love of Christ.
Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow Him shared His suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians. Do we stand up or crumble in the face of persecution? I truly wonder how any of us would fair if faced with torture and death for the sake of Christ.