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Choosing Christ

First Reading: Revelation 15:1-4

I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring:
seven angels with the seven last plagues,
for through them God’s fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire.
On the sea of glass were standing those
who had won the victory over the beast
and its image and the number that signified its name.
They were holding God’s harps,
and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God,
and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 7-8, 9

R. (Rev. 15: 3b) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Gospel: Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd:
“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
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
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.”

NAB

nov23

Well, today’s Gospel sure is a cheery recruitment for the life of a Christian, isn’t it? I just see the poster potential.

Or maybe not.

These are the hard truths.

Here’s another hard truth: we have been baptized into the service of this Lord. We’re already in this army and we’re all signed up for persecution. It comes with the package. We live and love and worship in a Church built on the memory of Martyrs. People have died for this faith; people die for it today.

It is unlikely that you will be asked to kneel on a beach wearing an orange jumpsuit as someone prepares to execute you, but your life in Christ will ask sacrifices. You will be persecuted and you will die to yourself.

Jesus doesn’t soft-pedal this one. When we choose Christ, we choose persecution. And there will be days—probably many days—when it really does feel like the evil people are winning and they have dominion over the Christians. There will be days when you know that people look at you and say, “There’s that crazy Christian lady being her weird, radical self.” Some of those days you’ll want to protest that you are neither crazy nor weird. You will wish you could hang with the cool kids and not worry about all those radical things that set you apart from the crowd.

Jesus knew how you’d feel. He knew you’d be afraid to call your in-laws to tell them another baby is on the way because you know they won’t applaud. He knew you’d lose that boyfriend because you’d really prefer to save some things for marriage. He knew that you’d have to walk into a dance school in the middle of class and pull your daughter from a dance because your family doesn’t “Burlesque.” Okay, maybe that last one was just me. Or maybe they’re all just me.

But you’ll have your own.

The Gospel assures us that we will be persecuted. It calls us to endure and persevere, promising that if we hang in there, we will be victorious.

Some of us might actually die for Christ. All of us will suffer for Him.

He will be with us in the suffering. He promises that not even a hair on our heads will be harmed. How is it that we die and yet our hair is still good? It’s not. Our Savior is assuring us that in Heaven there is nothing but good hair days and glory with God. There is peace. Until then, we can be assured that the days will be filled with people who don’t know Christ and don’t love Christians. We can also be assured that God is right there when we meet the bad guys.

Do you know someone who is making a bold stand for Christ right now? Reach out to her today in a tangible way and be Christ to her in your support.

Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here

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