Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Herod’s Persecution of the Christians
(Please read the passage below from the Acts of the Apostles 12:1-14):
About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf. On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.” When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who is called Mark, where there were many people gathered in prayer. When he knocked on the gateway door, a maid named Rhoda came to answer it. She was so overjoyed when she recognized Peter’s voice that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate.
(Below you will find the message of Our Lord and Redeemer given to Father Melvin. Jesus spoke to him these words.)
“I am always with you, My brother Melvin, and with all My brothers and sisters living in every country of the world. I wish to strengthen you to be able to withstand any suffering or persecution that comes your way. Look how I withstood all the suffering at My Passion and at the end had the strength to go through the nailing to the cross until My death. One who suffered much was Peter, the one I chose as head of My Church. Herod wanted to kill him but I could not allow this as Peter had a mission to accomplish so I sent an angel to take him out of the prison. He came out without any trouble and the angel left him when he was out of harm.
My dear brothers and sisters, you will have your share of suffering although you will also have times of great peace and love. During your time of suffering, remain very close to Me and I will be there to help you. Yes, I will refresh you and give you great strength to face any problem. Many Christians died as martyrs with the graces and strength I gave them. I love you all and I want you all to be My witnesses every day.”