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"All will hate you because of Me." —Luke 21:17
People "will manhandle and persecute you" (Lk 21:12). "You will be delivered up even by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death" (Lk 21:16). "Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus" will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). All Christians will be persecuted, and some will be martyred.
When we hear these blunt statements from Jesus, most of us almost immediately reason that persecution and martyrdom will not happen to us. Even if they should, the persecution will be mild, and probably not for a long time.
However, today's Gospel reading has never been more true. Never in the 2,000 year history of the Christian community have so many Christians been persecuted and even martyred. China, the most populous country in human history with a population of well over a billion people, is viciously shedding the blood of many Christians. Many Muslim nations consider it their religious duty to kill Christians who share their faith in Jesus. Secular humanists pride themselves on their tolerance of almost everything, even the worst perversions, yet make an exception for Christians, against whom they openly exhibit bigotry.
Severe persecution against Christians is occurring now. You have good reason to expect that it will happen here to you. Rejoice! "It is your special privilege to take Christ's part — not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him" (Phil 1:29).
Prayer: Father, may I watch and pray so that I will not fail the test (see Lk 22:40).
Promise: "Who would dare refuse You honor, or the glory due Your name, O Lord? Since You alone are holy, all nations shall come and worship in Your presence." —Rv 15:4
Praise: St. John-Theophane Venard, martyred in Vietnam, had corresponded with St. Therese of Lisieux. John chose the "little way" by accepting martyrdom out of perfect love for Jesus.
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2010
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