November 23, 2016
Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)
In the Gospel today, Jesus presented the consequences of being his disciple. He mentioned persecution, being thrown to prison, be put to trial, betrayed by family, and hated by all to the point of being put to death. Probably for a new disciple, listening to these words are not very consoling and inspiring. He might change his mind in following Jesus. But many disciples stayed. Perhaps because Jesus promised that not a hair from their head will be destroyed and that they will secure their lives. I believe Jesus promised eternal life to those who are loyal to him until death. Many of the martyrs and saints of the Church followed Him and remained loyal despite the imminence of death.
Sickness is a trial. I have witnessed first-hand how sickness have brought misery and despair to the sick people and their families. As a nurse, handling death is part of our profession. When I used to work as a nurse, day in and day out, I would witness how death of a loved one would bring tremendous anguish to the bereaved family. It’s all in a day’s work. But most often than not, anguish is replaced by hope. I remember Queenie, a British elderly lady that I took care of in the stroke ward. Queenie and her family know that she is nearing the end of her life because of her sickness so they made arrangements. I can say that when the time came Queenie was dying, she was surrounded with so much love and support by the family. Yes, there were tears and sadness but it was soon replaced by hope because of their faith. They know that Queenie has been faithful to God and that they are clinging to hope that she will be rewarded because of her life in Christ.
It is not Heaven that a follower of Christ seeks. It is Jesus Himself that we all hope to receive when the time comes that we are face to face with death.