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(Part 70)


November 27, 2013
Today’s gospel: Luke 21:12-19

Jesus continues to tell us what will happen in the end times. As we are already in the end times, we can see that indeed these dreadful events are already upon us. And things are getting worse, especially for those who seek to live out their faith.

“Before all this happens, however, 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.” (v.12). Pro-lifers praying peacefully at abortion centers have been cursed, assaulted, intimidated, and even arrested, some of them eventually being convicted in courts and sent to prison. Christian service providers, such as those owning B&Bs, or wedding photographers, or adoption agencies, have been sued for not servicing homosexual couples, and have had to pay hefty fines. Parents who homeschool their children because they do not want them to go to liberal schools that promote reproductive health have been arrested and have had their children forcibly taken away from them, to be raised by the state.

“You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.” (v.16). Jesus already said that his coming would cause division even among family members. Indeed, those who are pro-choice are very much antagonistic to those who are pro-life, no matter if they are kin or neighbors or close friends. Those closest to us have been blinded by the reproductive health ideology. The time will come when they will be the ones to report us to the police or to the courts, because of some violations of hate speech laws that are intended to prevent us from speaking about homosexual immorality. They may not yet be putting us to death, but a time of severe persecution is coming. The state will continue to assault religious freedom and coerce and force Christians to violate their consciences. More oppressive laws will be passed. But since some Christians will still not give in, then persecution to the point of putting Christians to death, as it once was, will happen.

“You will be hated by all because of my name” (v.17). The secular humanist world, dominated by liberal homosexualist forces, hates authentic Christians most of all. The evil forces in the world are out to destroy everything that is of God, and at the core of that are faith, family and life. Standing in the way of the diabolical forces is the only strong institution left fighting, the holy Roman Catholic Church. Thus the full force of the enemy will be directed at practicing Christians, and especially at the Catholic Church.

What then are we to do?

First, we always look at the bright side. Being arrested and arraigned before secular authorities “will lead to your giving testimony.” (v.13). It will give us the opportunity to witness to a secular audience. It will give us the opportunity to proclaim the gospel. We will be speaking to those who precisely are in darkness and who need to hear the good news of Jesus.

Second, we are not to be afraid, and in fact are to know that the Lord is with us, He who is all-powerful, just and loving. We are not to be intimidated. We are not to worry what is to happen. Jesus himself assures us, “Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” (v.14-15). Jesus will be with us. Jesus will guide us and give us wisdom. Jesus will empower us. Of course, our wise words and powerful refutation can enrage them even more. But we leave the fruit and the consequences up to God.

Third, we are to be confident that we are under God’s divine protection, that “not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” (v.18). Solomon in his wisdom had said about Adonijah, “If he proves worthy, not a hair of his shall fall to the ground. But if evil is found in him, he shall die.” (1 Kgs 1:52). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown in the fiery furnace but “not a hair of their heads had been singed” (Dn 3:94). Jesus, in encouraging courage under persecution, says, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid” (Mt 10:30-31a). If we live according to God’s ways, if we do not conform to the evil around us, then God is there to protect us. Still, God might allow us to suffer the consequences of human evil, but in the end we will be preserved, if only for eternal life.

Finally, we are to persevere. God wants us to endure--to purify us, to strengthen us, to test us, to fortify our witness. The fight will be long, hard and bloody. But with Jesus we already have the victory. But to experience that victory, we need to see the battle to the end. Some unfortunately give up when salvation is just around the corner. For us, we are to constantly plod forward, enduring all hardship and suffering, knowing that the Lord is with us. “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (v.19).

Onward to the New Evangelization!

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