If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for Saint Paul says plainly that all who chose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions – St Augustine: (354 – 430: was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy)
Scripture Text: (WIS 2:1A, 12-22)
The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.
Today’s first reading from Mass is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who was persecuted, mocked and finally condemned to a shameful death. Where do you find yourself today? Are you the one doubting or are you the target of people's criticisms?
If we are called to be Christians, we will undoubtedly be persecuted by the world because Christ's way of thinking and acting are opposed to that of the world. Often by the mere fact when a person acts virtuously, people who are far from virtue feel threatened. They feel uncomfortable when they see someone acting differently from them; more so when they are gently corrected by the other. Not realizing that they are being offered the right path, they feel that someone is imposing his / her will on them.
Day by day, we are faced with the challenge of being a witness to Christ even if this means being misunderstood or having enemies. Often we need to choose between being faithful to Christ and being loved by the world.