Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.” ― Archbishop Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love
Gospel Text: (LK 21:5-19)
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
“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.
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.”
We who serve Christ in the world will inevitably face resistance, recrimination for our faith and even persecution. We however are promised hope, strength and support from God—if we have the wisdom to trust in Him. The Holy Spirit will carry us with God’s thoughts and words when on our own wisdom and effort we would be barren.
We all have moments of misery and insecurity—and these voids in us cannot be filled with the trappings of the world, money, success or worldly goods. Just like the temple exterior that hid the unsettled interior, our external veneer may not reflect our true interior disquiet. It is only through faith and a vibrant relationship with Jesus can we can find meaning and purpose, even when we are in painful or uncomfortable encounters. We must become aware of the comfort that God can give us by helping us turn negatives into positives, tragedies into triumphs, heartaches into moments of grace.