The martyrs commemorated on this day were Christians martyred in Rome during the Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians in AD 64. It this became clear in the very beginnings of the Church that martyrdom was to be expected as a true following of Christ.

In our own day, when Christianity can appear to be a ‘safe’ religion in the West, we need to remember that it is not so everywhere in the world; and indeed, there are many ‘hidden martyrdoms’ that we may be called to undertake.

Whatever our calling, may we be always ready to ‘lay down our life’ for our brother or sister; and may God bless you in so doing.