Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.” Luke 21:12-13
This is a sobering thought. And as this passage continues, it becomes even more challenging. It goes on to say, “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
There are two key points we should take from this passage. First, like yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus is offering a prophecy to us that prepares us for the persecution to come. By telling us what is to come, we will be better prepared when it does come. Yes, to be treated with harshness and cruelty, especially by family and those close to us, is a heavy cross. It can rattle us to the point of discouragement, anger and despair. But do not give in! The Lord foresaw this and is preparing us for it.
Second, Jesus gives us the answer to how we deal with being treated harshly and maliciously. He says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” By remaining strong through the trials of life and by retaining hope, mercy and confidence in God, we will become victorious. This is such an important message. And it’s a message that is certainly easier said than done.
Reflect, today, upon the invitation Jesus gives to us to live in perseverance. Often times, when perseverance is needed the most, we do not feel like persevering. We may, instead, feel like lashing out, fighting back and being angry. But when difficult opportunities present themselves to us, we are able to live this Gospel in a way we could have never lived it if all things in our lives were easy and comfortable. Sometimes the greatest gift we can be given is that which is most difficult, because it fosters this virtue of perseverance. If you find yourself in such a situation today, turn your eyes to hope and see any persecution as a call to greater virtue.
Lord, I offer You my crosses, hurts and persecution. I offer to You every way that I have been mistreated. For those small injustices, I beg for mercy. And when the hatred of others causes me much distress, I pray that I will be able to persevere in Your grace. Jesus, I trust in You.