Reading: But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. Luke 21:14.
Good morning, happy Wednesday, and many blessings my dear family.
Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:12-19) is not easy to listen to. Jesus continues his warnings to the crowds: “They will seize and persecute you, hand you over, and you will go to prison all because of my name.” Jesus also instructs the people: “Do not prepare your defense in advance. I will give you such wisdom that you will need.” And also, Jesus warns them that they may be betrayed by family members who may “hand them over” and “some of you will be put to death.”
After these words, Jesus does speaks a few words of consolation to his listeners: “True, you will be hated by all because of my name. However, not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By perseverance you will secure your life.” Now ask yourself: are these last words of Jesus consoling and reassuring to you? Or do they make you want to “slam the door on Jesus?” Yet Jesus calls us to follow him! And if we choose to follow him, the path also may lead us to the cross!
These words of Jesus mirror the reality that we see and hear about in the world. All over our world, people are being persecuted and killed because of what they believe, how they dress, or the belief that they are expendable! We, in the United States, are not exempt from this behavior. We see it on the evening news, read about it in the newspaper or online. Supposedly we are a “first world country.” However, our behavior and choices often negate these words. At times, we also behave like “savages.”
It is easy for people to measure their self-worth by the number of "likes" they accumulate but Jesus asks us not to confuse popularity with happiness and to keep our eyes on what is of true value.
So, what is the call of this Gospel? Perhaps the call today is to be aware of how we interact with the people in our lives. Are we inclusive of everyone? Do we respect each individual we encounter? Or do we savage one other with rumors, lies, or innuendos? Today be mindful of your words and actions. Be aware of your thoughts and “inner commentary.” Today we have a choice to be negative and demeaning. However, we also have the option to be accepting and respectful of every individual we encounter. What will be our choice?
Jesus, help us to live in the here and now, to bear witness to you wherever we can. Not to fear but to trust in your loving care for us, and to stand up and be counted as followers of the Way.