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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us how to deal with persecution. When does the Church stop being persecuted? When the Lord returns, and not before. 

From the earliest days until the present, the community of Jesus Christ has been the focus of the world’s violence. The Church will announce, until the end of time, that the old world is passing away, that a new world of love, nonviolence, and life is emerging. This announcement always infuriates the world of sin. Always. The twentieth century was the bloodiest on record—and the one with the most martyrs.

Here’s Jesus’ encouragement: “When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

What do we do in the meantime? We maintain a detachment from the world that is passing away, our eyes fixed on the world that will never end. And we speak—confidently, boldly, provocatively—the message of the Gospel, the dying and rising of the Lord.