11.29.17 Wed. wk. 34 – O.T. (I)
1st Rdg Daniel 5: 1 -6, 13 – 14, 16 – 17, 23 – 28
Gospel Luke: 21: 12 – 19
†Jesus said to the crowd: “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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Being the Good News
The Gospel of †Jesus Christ is the Good News, however, today’s reading is not welcome news at all. †Jesus describes the reality of living the Gospel: we will be rejected and persecuted, even our own family will collaborate in our suffering for the Gospel. It is not easy to remain faithful to †Jesus and His Word, but †Jesus calls us to perseverance, not to give up, to trust; to trust in His grace and to believe that He will not leave us alone.
St. Gregory the Great was the Pope at the end of the sixth century, and he identified three areas where the virtue of perseverance is exercised in the life of a Christian: in our relationship with God; in our battle with the evildoer; and finally in our daily dealings with our neighbor. When we are wronged by our neighbor or by a family member, we must never try to get even with them. There is an old saying: “I never get mad, I just get even.” †Jesus say: that is not the way we live as His disciples. We must persevere always in showing love for our neighbor or family members; even when they hurt us. When tempted by the evildoer, we must persevere in virtue, especially the virtue of charity when we are tempted to be self-absorbed, selfish. We must die to ourselves rather than to give in to sin.
When we are experiencing suffering, we must persevere in trusting in God’s plan for us. We must not resort in blaming God for the challenges that we face in our lives. To give into the ways of the secular culture because everyone else is doing it. (speaking to the students – Like you say to mom and dad: “My friend does it, why can’t I do it?”) If we always use that as our excuse, we are going to walk down the road to destruction. We look at the reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel. The Babylonian culture had followed King Belshazzar honoring false gods “of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.” (Dan. 5:6) But the writing was on the wall, literally. The path they had chosen would lead to destruction.
We are called to persevere in following God’s Word in the Scriptures. The Word of God, was written by divinely inspired human hands. †Jesus tells His disciples: “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:19) If we endure to the end, if we do not give in to man-made idols, whatever they are, we will save our lives. We will inherit the kingdom of life, and joy and holiness.
The real enemy of the Gospel is the evildoer. Satan opposes God and all who follow God’s Word. God’s way is the way of moral goodness, mercy, compassion and love. Satan will use any means possible to turn us away from each other; even using family members who lack a strong faith. Maybe you have already experienced this; the conflicts you have with family members, who ridiculed you because of your faith. It is part of the journey. When †Jesus was persecuted how did He respond? He always responded with love, care, sacrifice and forgiveness. These are the virtues that we must persevere in, in times of struggle and persecution. And when life does not unfold in the way we would like it to – we must not fall into the temptation shaking our fist at God and blaming him for all the bad things that go on in our life.
The Lord is only capable of giving us what is good and useful for our salvation, for eternal happiness and holiness. The Gospel is the Good News. It is God’s eternal Word and His promise – that if we persevere to the end: If we persevere to the end, we will have a dwelling place in heaven. So, the writing is on the wall. If we choose the way of the world, allowing others to turn us away from God and toward selfishness, it will not end well for us, at all, as it did not end well for those who worship false, empty gods made by human hands.
So, let us endure with patience, the Lord says. “a patience which never gives up hope – a patience that trusts God at all times with courage, selflessness, love, goodness, kindness, courage and mercy. And let the others (and this is most important) let others see the Word of God written in our lives; because you may be the only Gospel that someone reads.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.