November 25, 2015
Today’s gospel: Luke 21:12-19
Not only will there be external threats to personal well-being before the end of time, such as wars and calamities, but there will also be persecution. This is so patently true in the Middle East, where Christians are being martyred for their faith. This is also true, in a different way, in the Western world. What happens in the West, especially in the USA, is already being brought to the rest of the world.
One aspect of this is the assault on Christians through secular laws. “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). The secular humanist world is more and more enacting laws that expressly prohibit public practice of the Christian faith, like prohibiting prayer, displaying of Christian symbols, speaking against homosexuality, praying outside abortion clinics, refusing to cater to homosexual couples, and the like. Those who stand for their Christian beliefs are arrested, prosecuted, fined and/or jailed.
Another aspect of persecution is the opposition and even hatred from relatives. “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.” (v.16). Those who are for the culture of death, the radical feminists, the gay ideologues–all are rabidly against the Christian faith. In their blindness they even insult, ridicule and assault their closest relatives. Christians have received death threats. Seriously ill Christians have been deprived of food until they died of starvation.
In today’s modernist world, the Christian who stands for his faith is a target. “You will be hated by all because of my name” (v.17). The enemy, supported by world powers, is out to destroy faith.
Such is a dire scenario. But in the darkness the light can shine. If we are opposed or brought to secular authorities because of our faith, that can be an opportunity to speak out about what we believe in. “It will lead to your giving testimony.” (v.13). And if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and stand fast on our faith, then, as the end comes, we are more assured of our salvation. “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (v.19).
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God bless you all.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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