Today we celebrate St. Paul Miki, a Jesuit seminarian martyred in sixteenth century Japan. Like many other martyrs throughout the centuries, accounts of his death tell of St. Paul Miki forgiving his executioners, praying for them, and preaching about Jesus even as he was brutally killed. Surely his heart was moved with pity for others, much like Jesus’ pity for the crowds following him and the apostles. Both Jesus and St. Paul Miki saw the spiritual poverty and earnest seeking among those drawn to them. Both upset the established status quo of their respective cultures. Both were compassionate and genuine in sharing the truth with love.

Who are the “sheep without a shepherd” in our communities today? When I strive to live out my faith, do I witness with joy and empathy? Is my heart compassionate like the heart of Christ, and moved with pity for the forgotten or marginalized?

Maggie Melchior is a convert to the Catholic faith. She currently serves as Coordinator of New Evangelization and Faith Formation for a parish in the Diocese of Green Bay.