Friday, April 11, 2014

“Persecution is an enemy the Church has met and mastered many times - Indifference could prove to be a far more dangerous foe.”

It is You Jesus, stretched out on the cross, who gives me strength and are always close to the suffering soul. Creatures will abandon a person in his suffering, but You, O Lord, are faithful... -- St. Faustina

Gospel Text: (JN 10:31-42)
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.

Two thousand years after all of these events came to pass, it is easy for us to condemn the act of plotting against Jesus. What you and I fail to see when we read the bible is that all these things happened in "real time." Because of this, we barely see their perspective, their life, their politics.

If we were one of the Jews during that time in history, how would we have acted? We have a country that might be persecuted because of this one man from Galilee, this one man who is a simple carpenter of unknown origin. How are we to decide? We who are "learned" of the Scriptures? We whom the people depend on for their faith and their fate? If we were Caiaphas (Jewish high priest), what would we have said to our fellow leaders who were already feeling the threat of this man? For us now it is history, so we know what to do. The leaders then, however, were lacking of this ability to predict, to know how things would turn out to be.

What Jesus was trying to say was so big many of His contemporaries could not fully understand it; only the small and humble ones understood him, for the Kingdom many times is hidden from the “wise” and the learned. This sad reality still goes on today.

Through it all Jesus' ability to forgive and to go through all the sorrows and pain he suffered from his persecutors stemmed from his absolute obedience to his Father's will. God's unconditional love for us made Him send His only Son to save us through the cross. Despite who we are He chose to do what He did out of love for us.

We are told that religion is just a crutch and that we should be strong enough to handle whatever comes our way. Or we have been told that it’s normal to live with a certain level of anxiety and worry and that only naïve fools are happy all the time. We should just grow up and get used to our problems because life is unfair, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Don’t listen to these voices!

You have a God in heaven who cares for you and who wants to do good for you. He is very near to you, waiting for you to call on him. He will take up your cause and give you his grace, his wisdom, and his insights to help you through every challenge. You don’t have to walk this path alone!

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