Daily Reading for September 2 • The Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942
What did the contemporaries of the early martyrs think about the events of their time? Perhaps the complexity of the factors in an historical situation, their own closeness to the events, and even their lack of personal courage prevented them from seeing the significance of occurrences that today seem so clearly to have been heroic testimonies to faith in the Lord. It is a fact that a consensus with regard to what is happening before our eyes is always more difficult to reach; this is because present events, unlike those of the past, are not situated in a world that we regard as idyllic and that we envelop in golden legends. Present events form part of our own universe and demand of the individual a personal decision, a rejection of every kind of complicity with executioners, a straightforward solidarity, an uncompromising denunciation of evil, a prayer of commitment. . . .
According to the very earliest Christian tradition the blood of martyrs gives life to the ecclesial community, the assembly of the disciples of Jesus Christ. . . . Fidelity unto death is a wellspring of life. It signals a new, demanding and fruitful course in the following of Jesus.
From We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People by Gustavo Gutiérrez (Orbis Books/SCM Press, 1984).