Cardinal Tagle calls for ‘everyday martyrs’ of God’s love
MANILA — The world today needs believers who witness each day to the love of God, who also sacrificed His life for others, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said.
But witnessing heroism doesn’t always mean sacrificing “by blood,” said the prelate, inviting the faithful to proclaim the Gospel despite opposition and hostility, and detached from the material world.
“We are invited to be martyrs and witnesses every day. We don’t wait for martyrdom by blood,” said Tagle in his homily during the Mass to mark the feast day of Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, a Japanese martyr, at the Manila Cathedral.
“Every day in our lives, we are asked by Jesus, ‘be with me, witness to My love, give yourself to mission for others,’” he said.
The cardinal said Takayama, who died in exile while in Manila in 1615 after refusing to renounce his Christian faith, is a manifestation of the power of the love of Christ.
“He blessed our soil with a testimony of faith and heroism,” said Tagle.
The Japanese Catholic samurai, according to him, was given the chance to turn away from his faith but he remained faithful to Jesus.
Like Blessed Takayama, Tagle said Christians are called to bear witness and suffer for the love of Jesus even if this world of sin and injustice calls them “foolish”.
“But now, his foolishness is wisdom for us, his weakness is strength for us,” he added.
Also present during the Mass were a number of Japanese bishops, priests, and lay pilgrims.
Takayama is one step closer to possible sainthood after being beatified in Osaka, Japan on Feb. 7, 2017.
The Archdiocese of Manila first proposed Takayama for sainthood in 1630, only 15 years after his death.
In 1986, an alumnus of the UST Graduate School was commissioned to study the Cause after the petition for Takayama’s beatification was revived.
To ensure that the movement had roots, the UST established the Lord Justus Takayama Professional Chair in Philippine-Japanese Studies in February 1989.
A month after his beatification, the university also built a historical marker to memorialize the first lay Japanese Christian martyr in the Philippines. CBCPNews