Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Jesus was a very straightforward person. He made it clear to his disciples that things would be difficult at times. Embracing the cross would not be easy. When Jesus spoke about the world he was very realistic. Wars and insurrections, earthquakes, plagues and famines, persecution and imprisonment, betrayal, hatred and killings.
Jesus told them that such happenings would provide them with opportunities to bear witness to him and to the Gospel. The reality is that in times of darkness, light is needed; in times of falsehood, the truth is needed. In times of war, peace is needed. And it is in the difficult times that witnesses to Jesus and the Gospel are needed!
By warning them, Jesus was also telling them what they would need to face such difficulties. Jesus was saying to them, and to us, that wisdom is needed so as not to be deceived. Courage is needed so as not to be afraid. Endurance is needed so as not to give up and toss in the towel. Jesus assures his disciples in every age that they will triumph in the end, as long as they remain faithful and persevere in the midst of it all.
Our times offer many opportunities to bear witness to Jesus and the Gospel. The many tragedies and disasters could easily lead us to lose hope and give into despair. This is not how Jesus looked at events. He saw them as opportunities to bear witness to the Good News of the Kingdom.
From experience, the majority of folks know that faith seems to thrive in adversity. In reality, sometimes faith is born out of adversity. Nature is our teacher. Certain wild flowers when you put them in a garden go to seed. Put them out in the open field and they bloom like crazy!
In a world of so much social and political turmoil, people of faith will often be seen as being naïve, ineffective and irrelevant. However, we must never be afraid of skepticism and cynicism, but trust that God will give us the strength to stand firm.
Our faith sustains us in the belief that in the end good will triumph over evil. We are reminded that in the midst of turmoil, joy can be ours, because we know that Jesus is faithful to his promise, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” That promise gives us all we need to live through any and all of the turmoil’s of life.
God is faithful to us. God’s love is unchanging. Faith is not wishing that things would be different. Faith gives us the strength to deal with the realities of this world. God does not spare us pain. God helps us to work through it.
— Fr. Dennis
6 November, 2016