“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.
You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by 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 of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In reading today’s Gospel I immediately thought about the Christians in Syria and Iraq who are being persecuted for their faith. Hundreds of Christians have been killed and thousands have had to leave their homeland and find refuge in a foreign land.
As Americans suspect that we don’t think very often about being persecuted for our faith. We seldom hear of anyone threatened with physical harm because of their faith. But I wonder if there is a more subtle way our faith is challenged. I wonder about our society’s fascination with sports and entertainment and the lifestyles they promote. Or the advances in technology that seemed to have created a need and a dependence in our lives.
No, we are not persecuted for our faith, but we do face daily challenges to live an authentic Christian life. Jesus reminds us to persevere.
What are the challenges to your faith in being a Christian today?
—Margaret Horner earned a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from St. Francis de Sales Seminary. She currently serves as the Director of Liturgy at Gesu Parish, Milwaukee, WI.
Go before us, O Lord, in all the actions of this day before us. Grant that all we say with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and show forth in our daily lives. Amen.
—attributed to St. John Berchmans, S.J.