Today's readings are terrifying. Plagues, wrath, fire. Persecution, trial, betrayal.
Saint John paints a whirling vision of the final days. Jesus warns His followers that they will be attacked.
I sit in my quiet, comfortable home, and I try to imagine what any of these realities might be like. What would it mean for time to end? For God’s final judgment to come? For my life to be demanded of me?
That terrifying shiver of what if seizes my mind for an instant, frozen by the thought that family would betray me, or that death would come with violence because of what I believe.
What good news am I supposed to draw from these words?
But there it is. Right in the midst of Jesus’ fair warning that the life of faith will not be safe or soft. There is His quiet message of peace—the steady calm from the One who was persecuted, attacked, and betrayed by those He loved.
Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
This Gospel is not a call to fear. This is a call to trust.
How often do we rehearse our rebuttal before someone has finished speaking? I do this all the time. Pulse throbbing in my ears, indignation rising in my throat, protest churning in my gut. I want to win with my words.
But winning is not wisdom.
If I cannot trust the Spirit of Wisdom to give me words to respond, how can I trust God with my very life? And that is the call of today’s Gospel—to trust this God to protect the very hairs on our head, even as they stand on edge, even as the world goes mad around us.
Because God will stand by us in every trial. God will protect us when all else fails.
Jesus asks us to trust Him. Can we do that today? In small ways—the unkind word held back, the snappy retort caught on the tongue, the cruel judgment simmered down unspoken.
What would happen if we tried it? If the next time we felt attacked, we tried not to rehearse the perfect response?
What if we prayed for the Spirit to guide our heart when the time came?
What if we trusted that God will always give what we need—the tools to speak and the truth to share?
Would it make us stronger for the end?
Laura Kelly Fanucci is a mother, writer, and theological researcher. She and her husband are raising three little boys in the suburban wilds of Minnesota. You can find out more about her here.