“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.” LK 21:12-19
Humbly submit your will to God (thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
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.” Lk 21:12-19
Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world again this year. The persecutions in the 20th and 21st centuries blow away the persecution of Christians in the early Church. From 2015-2017, the number of Christians fleeing Iraq was astounding. For the first time in its history there may be places in Iraq where Christianity is exterminated. Places where Christians have lived since its beginning. North Korea tops the list for the fifteenth year in a row as the place where Christians are persecuted the worst. Many of them exist only in concentrations camps and are killed systematically through gas chambers. Some reports show 1,500 in 2014 and 2,500 in 2015.
The entire Middle East Christians are under persecution due to extremist Islamic groups like ISIS. Open Doors USA states, “Each month 322 Christians are killed for their faith, 214 Churches and Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians”. The Catholic Herald on Oct. 12th, 2017 states, “In terms of the numbers of people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact, it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history.
Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.” The latest update from Open Doors is 360 million Christians are under a severe or high threat currently in 2023. Christianity is still the most persecuted religion in the world according to their statistics.
Today’s gospel is true, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” Jesus Christ will take care of every persecuted Christian. Everyone should see them as great witnesses of the faith to Jesus Christ. Why would a person do this?Why did the first Apostles do this? The resurrection of Jesus Christ changed the world forever!
Only a person in their right mind would do this if they knew there was something beyond this world, a spiritual realm. A person in their right mind would do it, if they believe there is a greater power than the tyrants who can kill them. Tyrants have been trying to extinguish Christianity for thousands of years, why haven’t they succeed? They are not the final power, Jesus is.
Again, proof that the resurrection of Jesus Christ matters and everything in our faith hinges on this one transformative event. When a person is faced with death in everyday life, what they believe matters more. May we not get too comfortable and forget what truly matters in life. May we stand up for our religious freedom in our country and pray for all those who are persecuted, especially the innocent in the womb. ”By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Amen.
It is our religious duty to do something for persecuted Christians. We all make up the Mystical Body of Christ. When one person does good it helps the body, when one person does bad it hurts the body. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “We are one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Today’s challenge: Pray for all religions that are being persecuted. Stand up for religious freedom in America.
Be a servant, become a saint!