"You will be hated by all on account of Me. But whoever holds out till the end will escape death." -Matthew 10:22

Jesus commanded His disciples to be on "guard with respect to others" (Mt 10:17) because He would send His disciples out "like sheep among wolves" (Mt 10:16). He said that they may be handed over to the police by their own families (see Mt 10:21). Because we are Jesus' disciples, we may be handed over to be beaten, tried, and executed, after having witnessed for Jesus by the power of the Spirit (see Mt 10:17-21).

As I was reading today's Gospel, I was thinking about how far-fetched this seems to many Christians, although those in Muslim countries and in China understand today's Gospel all too well. While I was thinking about this, I was handed a note informing me that the associate pastor of a parish I was familiar with had received a threat on his life. The man making the threat was arrested, and the priest threatened by him was not attacked. However, this message made me think that many of us Christians may be in more danger of severe persecution than we think.

 *The Lord tells us that any godly person or even anyone wanting to live a godly life should expect to be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). We must arm ourselves with the mentality that we will suffer in the flesh (1 Pt 4:1). Expect the privilege of persecution (see Acts 5:41).

  Father, may I be worthy of being persecuted for love of You. May I hold out till the end (see Lk 21:19).

 "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation." -Gn 46:3

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