November 27, 2019 – Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (21:12-19)
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.
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.
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.”
Our Gospel today may sound disturbing and discouraging for us especially if we only tend to seek comfort and security in life. In many ways, we usually choose the easiest, the fastest and relaxing ways. Parents would hope and do their best to provide the best security and comfort for their children. I would also rather take what is easy rather than choosing a difficult one. However, Jesus tells us differently.
Jesus tells us, “if you decide to come and follow me, then, you will experience difficulties, conflicts, contradictions and even persecutions from those who deny me and do not believe in me. Friends and family members will hate you, will not understand you and even insult you for choosing me.”
To believe in Jesus is a risk. This was the experience of the first disciples who endured persecutions not just from the Roman soldiers or fellow Jews but even from their own families and close friends.
This reminds us of the many Christians who suffered from persecutions. Obviously, many of them had become confused and afraid because of the difficulties of being a Christian.
Remember, to believe in Jesus is a contradiction; to believe in Him was against the prevailing belief and culture of the people. Because we are supposed to take revenge and hate our enemies but Jesus tells us to love and forgive our enemies. Because we are supposed to aspire wealth and power, to be famous and successful but Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, the sorrowful and the persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
This reminds us of what we celebrate today. Today is called as Red Wednesday as our way of remembering and recognizing the martyrdom of many Christians today. Indeed, Christians are being discriminated, violated, oppressed, tortured and murdered in many countries of which we are not aware.
Thus, this calls us too to become true Christians, no matter what. But remember, a real Christian is always a contradiction to what the world wants us to be.
We are called to be true and honest Christians in our daily and common affairs. That is – to be honest in our dealings with others, to be just to the people we work with, to have the integrity in serving others even in the midst of corrupt practices in our institution, to be dedicated and self-sacrificing despite the indifferent and self-serving environment we are in.
We may have the faith that truly believes and trusts in God as we live our life according to our state of life now. Let us ask then the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to pray for us and to learn from her in trusting fully her son, Jesus. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR