WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Persecuted and Prosecuted
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:11-12).
HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - Meekness? Doesn't that rhyme with weakness?
In the Gospel for today, Jesus tells us that we are going to be sued for his sake. We are going to be hauled into court for his Name. We are going to be persecuted not only by the unjust justice system of this world, but also by our family and "friends."
And this is happening before our eyes.
NO, I am not going to be one of those people who smugly says that the persecution of our age is not necessarily with blood, because if you leave out the hundreds of millions of holy innocents who have been aborted in the past four decades and thus silently witness to the Lamb who was slain, you still have a huge number of adults in the twentieth century alone who freely gave themselves up for the sake of Christ who outnumber all the total martyrs for every age combined (Blessed Pope John Paul II, his commentary on the message of Fatima, June 26, 2000). It is by blood but it is also by paper, legal and political paper.
This is a new kind of persecution for our times. The Church is being sued to death.
Do not be alarmed. Jesus said this would happen. And so it is.
This year of faith demands that we take seriously the words of the Savior, and be totally unwavering in our trust in Him who said, "By your perseverance you will secure your lives."
Faith demands, as the first reading inspires us, to look to heaven and be consoled by the great multitude of witnesses, who had won victory over the beast, and who have said in every age in the face of persecuting kingdoms and governments, "All the nations will come and worship before you."
Yet, anyone who has ever had severe anti-Catholic legislation or lawsuits aimed at their neck would certainly say that this realization of our faith may not remove any of the anxiety, sleepless nights, or drama that being persecuted brings about, however, it does give us the strength to stand up out of bed after a night of tossing and turning and still hope in God.
It does help us know that we are not alone, that not only God is on our side, but others like Saint Paul had sleepless nights (2 Cor 11:27) and had themselves dragged before unjust magistrates and courts.
We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who cheer us on as we fight the same fight they have fought. And won.
Meekness is not weakness. It is confidence in the same divine Government, whose perfection of justice and knowledge of all deeds of darkness, gives a person serene courage and authentic, tried and tested, Christian JOY in the face of the evil of our time. Blessed are the meek. They shall inherit the earth. By their perseverance they will secure their lives.
Let us ask the holy and perseverant Mother of God, to obtain for us the gift of meekness, serene courage, in the face of whatever persecution we face for the sake of the Him who was prosecuted and sentenced by this worlds system of justice, so that we may one day join in the courts of heaven.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is currently based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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