Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Refection: Luke 21:12-19

Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 21:12-19

Today’s Gospel is not an easy reading to listen to.  Jesus continues his warnings to the crowds: “They will seize and persecute you, hand you over, and you will go to prison all because of my name.”  Jesus then instructs the people: “Do not prepare your defense in advance.  I will give you the wisdom you will need.”  Jesus also warns the people that they may be betrayed by family members who will “hand them over.”  Then He adds: “Some of you will be put to death.”

After these words, Jesus speaks a few words of consolation to his listeners: “True, you will be hated by all because of my name, however not a hair on your head will be destroyed.  By perseverance, you will secure your life.”  Now ask yourself: are these words of Jesus consoling and reassuring to you?  Or do they make you want to “slam the door” on Jesus?  Yet Jesus calls us to follow him!  And if we choose to follow him, this path may lead us to the cross!

The words of Jesus mirror the reality that we see and hear about in the world.  All over our world, people are being persecuted and killed because of what they believe, how they dress, or because others believe that they are expendable!  We, in the United States, are not exempt from this behavior.  We see it on the evening news, read about it in the newspaper or online.  Supposedly we are a “first world country,” however, our behavior and choices often negate these words.  At times, we also behave like “savages.”

So what is the call of this Gospel?  Perhaps the call today is to be aware of how we interact with the people in our lives.  Are we inclusive of everyone?  Do we respect each individual we encounter?  Or do we savage one another with rumors, lies, or innuendos?  Today be mindful of your words and actions.  Be aware of your thoughts and your “inner commentary.”  Today we have a choice to be negative and demeaning.  However, we also have the option to be accepting and respectful of every individual we encounter.  What will be our choice?

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