Jesus warns His disciples of coming persecution and promises to guide and rescue them. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Magnificence so he can courageously accept and fulfill his prophetic office and by growing in the Virtue of Fortitude so he can proclaim Christ’s Truth in the face of persecution.
34th Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – Lk 21:12-19
Preparing His disciples for His departure, Jesus shockingly reveals the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, a massive structure that had taken hundreds of years to build, would be utterly destroyed. Jesus also warns of calamitous future events before His Second Coming: wars will rage, earthquakes will rock the earth, there will be terrors, great signs in the skies, and people will starve and be ravaged with plagues.
Jesus soberly warns His disciples of the vicious persecutions they will face at the hands of both religious and secular authorities. Jesus offers the frightening prophecy that the disciples will be physically tormented (“lay their hands on you”), put on trial for His name’s sake, and the troubling news that the disciples will be betrayed by family and friends, a great sorrow, for it reveals that some of the disciples’ own kin will oppose Jesus and be condemned in the Judgment.
Rather than view the future evil persecutions as a meaningless trial, Jesus exhorts His men, revealing that the persecutions will be a great opportunity to evangelize the powerful, ultimately to save souls in Christ and to build the Kingdom of Heaven. To prepare His disciples for these persecutions, Jesus commands them to rely on Him. Jesus makes the astounding promise to supernaturally provide the disciples the words that their persecutors will be unable to “understand or contradict”; this is the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Throughout all these trials, Jesus commands the disciples that they must endure, promising those who endure, even those who are killed, that they will not perish but will see everlasting life.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Prayerfully reflect on the grave warnings of Jesus, Divine Prophet, as He prepares men for their coming persecutions: Divine Knowledge and Power, Jesus has complete knowledge about future events, and is in control of Salvation History; Divine King, Jesus Somberly Warns His men of coming persecutions, and calls men to evangelize those in power (kings, governors), trusting in His powerful and mysterious intercession to give men His words to say; the perfect demonstration of Hope (for He neither has, nor needs hope, for He is one with God the Father), Jesus reveals future events to men to strengthen their hope.
Courageously accept your prophetic office
Realize: Jesus’ call to men, to “bear testimony” is a particularly manly endeavor; “testimony” comes from the Latin testis (testicle) and when a man pronounced an oath in ancient Hebrew practice, another man would grasp the oath-giver’s testicles (Gen 24:2-9), to confirm the deadly seriousness of keeping the oath.
Believe: Reflect upon your responsibility to Participate in Christ’s Prophetic Office (CCC 904-907, 1302-1305, 1316-1317).
Pray: Jesus, Savior of Man, help me grow in the Virtue of Magnificence (a part of Fortitude) so I recognize and courageously accept my identity as Your prophet, and I learn and master the faith so I can take up the magnificent and manly work of being Your prophet.
Build fortitude and proclaim Christ’s Truth
Realize: The persecutions Jesus foresees in the Gospel are upon us: speaking the plain, logical and perennial truth of Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church is suppressed and attacked in the warped modern society by ridicule, shaming, harassment, intimidation, shunning, censorship, the loss of employment, lawsuits, and other devious means.
Believe: Reflect upon your responsibility to Bear Witness to the Truth (CCC 2471-2474).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Fortitude, help me build the Virtue of Fortitude so I relentlessly persevere in proclaiming Your Truth to the world, I courageously endure resistance and persecution, and I cooperate with Your Will to bring many souls to Your Kingdom.