Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rv 15:1-4; Gospel Lk 21:12-19
In the gospel yesterday, Jesus listed different signs such as the false Messiahs, war and revolution, hunger, plagues, earthquakes and so on. In today’s Gospel, which is a continuation of the gospel narrative begun yesterday, Jesus lists different signs to help the communities place themselves in these events and not lose faith in God, as well as the courage to persevere against the attacks of the Roman Empire. The sign that he presents to us today is the persecution of Christians. The very first verse begins with this declaration of Jesus that they will lay hands over you and persecute you. At various times, in the few years which He lived among us, Jesus warned the disciples that they would be persecuted. He repeats the same warning and makes them know that the persecution has to be taken into consideration in discerning the signs of the times:
The Gospel of Mark adds that all these signs “have only begun, this is the beginning of the birth pains!” (Mk 13, 8). Birth pains, though being very painful for the mother are not a sign of death, but rather of life! They are not a reason for fear, but rather to hope! This way of reading the events brings peace to the persecuted communities. What we are concerned about as Christians is the mission of the Christians during the time of persecution. Persecution is not something fatal or a reason for discouragement or despair. It should be considered a possibility offered by God and a way that the communities may carry out the mission of witnessing to the Good News of God. Jesus encourages the persecuted Christians who lived in anguish. He makes them know that even if they are persecuted, they have a mission to carry out, to give witness of the Good News of God and thus be a sign of the Kingdom. A courageous witness would lead the people to repeat what the magicians in Egypt said before the signs and to have courage like Moses and Aaron: “The finger of God is here” (Ex 8, 19). Through all these pains and perils it is God who guides and he will never fail us.