In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus Christ tells His disciples that those who follow Him should expect to suffer terrible persecutions and that this will lead to something great: “It will lead to your giving testimony” (Luke 21:5-19). Our ability to give testimony to the love and mercy of God, to speak a word of wisdom that Jesus will give us (which we do not prepare beforehand and leaves our adversaries powerless to resist), is an irrefutable sign of the authority and majesty of Jesus Christ. For, as we hear in the first reading, “the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble” (Malachi 3:19). The words of God’s wisdom are what turn the wicked to stubble – and for those who fear God’s Name, “there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays” (Malachi 3:20). Christ calls us, His disciples, to take very seriously His providential care of us: “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” (Luke 21:19).
Where do we get the strength and courage to persevere, to endure persecution, to testify to the love and mercy of God? From God Himself: by His grace, with the gifts of His Spirit, through prayer, His Church, Word, Sacraments and communion of saints. In the words of Pope Pius XII, may we hear how the Holy Spirit speaks to us: Undoubtedly, we accomplish all through the grace of God, the strength that God gives us, through the faith, hope and love that He has infused into our soul, through the divine love that burns within us, and through constant prayer by which we are closely united with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, from Whom we humbly ask and obtain whatever our human weakness cannot obtain. As brothers and sisters in Christ, in the face of endless cares and anxieties of life, may we never let anything turn us aside from striving and aiming to please God and to work for His glory for which nothing, aided by God’s grace, seems too laborious, or difficult, or beyond human strength (Pope Pius XII, homily, July 7, 1946, Canonization Mass of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first U.S. citizen to be declared a saint, memorial November 13). By God’s grace, may we continue to witness to and be instruments of God’s mercy and love, testifying in word and deed to the faith, hope and love that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has entrusted to us. May we be evermore aware of following Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world, and may He bring us all to life eternal in Heaven.
With peace and prayers in Christ,