Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord cautions us to expect persecution until the end of time: “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.” When will the Church stop being persecuted? When the Lord returns, and not before.  

None of the saints lived a serene life, a life free of worry, threat, persecution. It always strikes me as odd that somehow it is assumed that those who believe in God expect their lives to be a bowl of cherries. Absolutely nothing in the Bible or in the great tradition of the Church should lead us to expect this.

Instead, the saints found courage in the struggle. The Lord himself promised to prepare them for their defense. “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” Their courage got them through the negativity. I’m reminded of a verse from an Eva Cassidy song: “No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?”

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