In our Gospel today from John 16:1-4, Jesus says, “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues”. Jesus was warning his disciples that when they stand up in society as his followers, they will face persecution as he did. When this happens, he wanted them to be prepared. The synagogue was the Jewish community center of that time, and to be expelled was a scandal.
Things are not much different in our times today. If we stand up in society as a Catholic Christian to profess our faith, and follow our Catholic social teachings, we are going to be persecuted. The dignity of the human person from womb to tomb. The value of marriage and family being the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. Loving and caring for the hungry, the sick and the imprisoned. The belief that we are all one family no matter what our individual differences may be. Living in harmony with all of God’s creation. These are all tenets of our faith that are bound to draw persecution these days.
As we reflect on this Gospel, let us be prepared to face persecution for standing up for our beliefs today. Wear this persecution as a badge of honor, because the devil doesn’t mess with the lukewarm! But we must remember to profess our faith with love and mercy. Few people, if any, are ever converted by beating them over the head with a Bible. Let us remember to make a friend, be a friend, and then bring that friend to Christ.
De Colores, Deacon Kevin