Friday, March 23, 2012

"Divine Providence, in its own good time, will defend the innocent."

"All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time." - St John Bosco

Gospel text (Jn 7,1-
Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
"Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
"You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

If we want to live a godly life, we will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). We don't know the severity of this persecution, but we do know the certainty of it.

Although many non-Christians pride themselves on being tolerant, they will probably not tolerate Christians, for we are obnoxious to them (Wis 2:12). They think we are setting ourselves against their doings, reproaching them "for transgressions of the law," charging them with violations of their training, and censuring their thoughts (Wis 2:12, 14). Merely to see us is a hardship for many in today’s society (Wis 2:14) because our lives are different.

Because we all naturally want to be accepted and even popular, and because we naturally want to avoid pain and suffering, we have reason to not want to be just, godly, and holy. Although in our heart of hearts we want to be like the just and holy Jesus, at the same time we don't want the persecution and rejection resulting from life in Christ. Thus, we have a war of contradictions raging inside us.

We can end this war by capitulating to our fallen nature and the enemies of the Church. We can let our faith grow lukewarm and join the "popular". Or we can choose love rather than self. By love, we can remain just and take the painful flak that goes with love.

Will you fold under pressure or be free? Will you persecute or be persecuted? Do you nail just people to crosses or take up crosses? Are you another enemy of the cross (Phil 3:18) or another Christ?

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