We Christians will be persecuted by both the religious and secular authorities (Lk 21:12). As Jesus was betrayed by Judas, we will be betrayed even by our "parents, brothers, relatives and friends" (Lk 21:16). Some of us "will be put to death" (Lk 12:16). All will hate us because of our love for Jesus (Lk 21:17). Our reaction to all this bad news is not to "hang down our heads and cry." Rather, "when these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand" (Lk 21:28).
In the last days, the world will be pounded by seven plagues, by wave after wave of destruction (Rv 15:1). We do not react to this with fear, stress, or confusion. Instead, we stand up, hold our heads high, and by faith break out into song (Rv 15:3). Like the three men in the fiery furnace, we create a safe place in the midst of the destroying flames by singing God's praises (Dn 3:51). Like Paul and Silas, we sing up an earthquake, praise our way out of jail, and even convert the jailer and his family (Acts 16:25ff).
When times are tough, God's people sing. When God's people sing in faith, we see deliverance, protection, power, freedom, and conversion. St. Augustine declared: "He who sings prays twice." That's not the half of it. Sing to the Lord!
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 10, 2012.