Wednesday of the 34th Week of the Year

Luke 21:12-19

The Coming Persecution


One day I received a text message from a friend. The message is: “”God never promised us an easy journey in life, only safe arrival.” I did not know if my friend had any idea about the difficulties I was experiencing in my work but the message was very timely and it just struck me from the heart.

We know that everybody experiences difficulties in life. But can our faith make a difference? I believe that what we can offer is hope. We Christians are people of hope. I remember one of our professors saying that if there is no hope there is no future, then what is the point of life? Indeed our life has meaning because of our hope rooted in Jesus Christ.

Even though Jesus did not promise an easy journey, he assured us a safe arrival only if we hold on to Him. We should not wallow in the problems and trials of life. Rather we should focus our attention on the assurance of Jesus that not a single hair of our head will perish. St. Paul proved this when he said in his second letter to the Corinthians: “Trial of every sort come to us, will perish but we are not discouraged. We are left without answer, but do not despair, persecuted but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed.”

We hold on to our hope in Jesus Christ that we will be able to stand firm, steadfast and enduring amidst the tribulations of life. (Jerome S. Montesclaros, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


“By patient endurance you will save your lives.” Are you ready to suffer and to shed your blood, of necessary, for your faith? Christianity is a religion of the cross; it is a religion of martyrdom. Jesus willingly shed his blood for our sake and he calls us to be martyrs. The word martyr in Greek means witness. The Book of Revelation says that, “Jesus was the faithful witness…who freed us from our sins by his blood,” (1:5). Tertullian, a 2nd century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die, exclaimed: “The blood of the martyrs is seed.” Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the Church. The 3rd century Bishop, Cyprian, said: “when persecution comes, God’s soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict.”.” Saint Augustine wrote: “the martyrs are bound, jailed, scourged, racked, burned, rent, butchered – and the multiplied!” Why is this the case? The martyrs witnessed to the joy, truth and freedom of the gospel by their life, their testimony, and by their blood. Are you also eager to witness to the joy and freedom of the gospel? Think about it. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


It is said that “Christian life is not a bed of roses.” But come to think of it, the positive version is true as well. Christian life is a bed of roses. But not one that implies ease and comfort. Roses have thorns too signifying the possibilities of risk, blood-letting and pain. A rose is a rose because of its petaled beauty and its thorns. Both make it beautiful and complete.

Those who follow the Lord should expect thorns in the forms of persecutions, sufferings and hardships as He reveals in today’s gospel. But those exactly are the reasons why following Him is a “rosy” and wise decision, “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that…adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” Following him is following a path secure and safe, “not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”

We are also asked to persevere because Christian life is not how you run fast but how you carry on the journey. For those who keep up the struggle, “perseverance will secure your lives.”

I may be laughed at but not discouraged, I may be persecuted but not disheartened and I may be beaten up but not surrender. (Fr. Ferdinand D. Resuena, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


“Be thankful with what you have, rather than lose your job and be sent back to the Philippines.” This is what I often tell my countrymen when they complain of work fatigue.

Most Filipinos here in Korea are engaged in Triple D jobs which means: Dirt, Difficult and Dangerous. They have endured everything because of love for their family.

A story is told about a group of devout people who went on pilgrimage to heaven. While on pilgrimage they carried individual crosses along. The going was rough and there was much moaning and groaning. One of the pilgrims found his cross just too heavy to carry, so he cut off a part and shortened it.

After days of walking, the pilgrims approached the promised land of God’s presence. But they still had one obstacle to overcome. Between them and heaven was yawning abyss. How could they get to the other side? Someone thought that they could use their crosses as bridge. Indeed their crosses were just the right length to bridge the gap except the one who shortened his cross to make it lighter.

Life is difficult. The Lord Himself has said our life in this world is not easy, so we should learn to bear our crosses. No shortcuts!

There are times when we are tempted to do “dirty” work in order to have palatial houses, expensive cars, fashionable clothes. In high school, I recall the remarks of our school janitor: “I don’t mind being a janitor because the work is respectable. I may not smell good but I make the CR clean and sweet-smelling.”

Life is surely difficult but it does not need to be dirty. When you choose a dirty life, your next life is in danger. That is why Jesus gives us a very good advice, “By patient endurance you will save your lives.” (Fr. Emmanuel Ferrer, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


“…And they will put some of you to death.” I write this reflection a few days after Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, a fellow SVD missionary, an Indonesian, was shot to death in a remote barangay in the hinterlands of Kalinga-Apayao. It was a brutal reminder that the danger of death is something a missionary should be prepared for. Taking risks to life and limb is, for the missionary, part of the territory.

For many of us, the death of Fr. Fransiskus was senseless. Some missionaries reacted by proposing that the SVD should abandon the particular place because of its history of violence, especially to missionaries. Yet to do so would be essentially surrendering to the forces of evil. We find ourselves with no choice but to keep on proclaiming the gospel, no matter what it takes. We could only remind ourselves of the early Christian martyrs who gave their lives because of the faith. Because of what they did, the Church flourished, as it were a plant nourished by the life-giving blood of the martyrs. To offer one’s life for the Kingdom is one very convincing act of faith that cannot be easily ignored. For many in the past, it was the one single act that became the turning point for conversion. It is truly an imitation of Christ –no greater love than there is when one lays down his life for his friends.

For me personally, it reminded me of the days when I was a parish priest of Santa Teresa in Occidental Mindoro. Many times we had to go by boat to the remote barangays. Along the way, we would suddenly encounter inclement weather and big waves. It can be a terrifying experience. I remember that in those times, I would sing to myself the song, ‘Be Not Afraid.’ I would also remind myself very often that I am just doing God’s work and that surely, God would not let his worker down. Hence, putting myself in dangerous situations of life-threatening circumstances is an act of faith in God who will take care of His own. Death would not be a frightful prospect. (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


To be persecuted in the name of Christ is a special grace. Persecution is a consequence of following Christ who was persecuted and put to death on the cross for our redemption. Persecution can be direct or indirect. Directly, worldly power and authority suppresses the practice of the Christian faith through many forms of expression, including torture and death. Indirectly, worldly values and criticisms compel Christians to abandon the practice of the faith. Where direct persecution is the most common, as in the martyrdom of many Christians during the time of early church, indirect persecution occurs every day in almost all areas of human life.

In a government office, an employer was criticized for taking his job too seriously. While he attends to his tasks with painstaking care, others merely waited for the bundy clock to strike at 5:00PM. For his honest and faithful work, he was isolated from the rest of the employees. Notwithstanding the harsh remarks and reactions of his co-employees, he kept on doing his work as best as he could. One employee challenged him: “What are you trying to prove?” in a humble tone, he replied, “If I maybe offending you, I’m so sorry.  But this is who I am and I’m happy with my work.”

Jesus in the gospel tells us that persecution is an opportunity to give authentic witnessing to Christ Jesus. he tells us not to prepare any defense for He Himself will give a wisdom that adversaries cannot refute. Persecution, then, provides good Christians to experience the Lord’s wisdom. Jesus, in the final analysis, invites all Christians to embrace the difficulties of being challenged or persecuted for living their faith in Him. (Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


November 23, 2016 Wednesday

During his life time, St. Paul thought the end of the world would soon come about. Two millennia have passed; we are still awaiting for the end of the world! So many catastrophies have come and gone. The latest in the Philippines were “Yolanda” and the 7.2 mega-earthquake. I specially had the experience of the quake in Bohol. Many Boholanos thought this was it! But, no! The Lord is not through with us yet! He was just forewarning us to be ever ready! The end will come like “a thief in the night”!

As baptized persons, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people set apart. We have a mission to fulfill, to continue the Missio Dei, the Missio Spiriti, to bring the good news to all, that all may be one! The Bishops and priests, the consecrated persons and laity, have diff erent roles to play in the work of evangelization! All of us are His missionaries, His instruments to change the face of the earth! He is counting on us! God trusts you very much, trust Him in return. Be grateful that He has chosen you and me inspite of being our sin-permeatedness! In moments of doubt of our being effective instruments, rest assured that He is the main Evangelizer, not us! The Kingdom of God will continue to grow without our knowing much the how’s and the why’s – we have just to remain faithful even if we are seemingly unsuccessful! Blessed Therese of Calcutta was right. We are called “to be faithful, not to be successful!”

And so let us not be afraid. As Pope Francis admonishes us, let us be joyful bearers of the Gospel! (Fr. Florante Camacho, SVD | Maribojoc, Bohol Bible Diary 2016)


November 28, 2012

St. Andrew Trong
Wednesday of the 34th Week

Rv 15:1-4
Ps 98
Lk 21:12-19

Lk 21:12-19
The Coming Persecution

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 12“Before [the end] happens, however, 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. 13It will lead to your giving testimony. 14Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, 15for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. 16You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name, 18but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. 19By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”


Persecute. Opposition is not alien to the Christian vocation. People will oppose violently what threatens their existence and their way of life. Christianity is no exception. It puts forth the rule of God and goodness against all evil forces. Persecution, since time immemorial, has been unleashed against Christians, as Christ himself was crucified for advocating the truth about God, about himself.

Anyone who follows Jesus follows the same path of persecution. A true follower is ready to undergo what Jesus experienced. Yes, we will suffer for Jesus. But there are assurances from Jesus that in the end the good will triumph. Even if we will be sent and scattered, like bread we will be shared and finally be saved. In spite of sacrifices, let us put then our hope in God. God will be with us. He will assist us. Let us remember that if persecutions are in store for the followers of Christ, divine protection and assistance are also assured.

Do you know the subtle seduction of the world that is stronger and more subtle than open, violent persecution of the faith?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 21:12-19. KON ANG MENSAHE NI KRISTO USA KA MAAYONG BALITA, NGANONG ADUNA MAY MASUKO SA IYANG MGA MAGSASANGYAW? Ang ebanghelyo nag-ingon nga ang mga sumusunod ni Kristo pagasakiton ug ang uban patyon. Gani, ang mga disipulo pwedeng budhi-an sa ilang mga ginikanan, kaigsoonan ug kahigalaan. Nganong mahitabo man ang sama niini? Ang pinakadakong hinungdan niini mao si Satanas. Siya ang mohulhog og mga tawo nga masuko, magdumot, ug mopatay sa mga sumusunod ni Kristo. Si Satanas kontra sa kamatuoran; buhaton niya ang tanan aron pugngan si bisan kinsa nga magsangyaw o magpuyo nga matarong. Apan dili kita angay’ng mahadlok ug mabalaka tungod kay si Kristo mipasalig sa iyang makanunayong pagpakig-uban sa tanan nga mobarog para Kaniya. Posted by Abet Uy


Sunday, November 20, 2016

WEDNESDAY OF THE 34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME – LUKAS 21:12-19. KON ANG MENSAHE NI KRISTO USA KA MAAYONG BALITA, NGANONG ADUNA MAY MASUKO SA IYANG MGA MAGSASANGYAW? Ang ebanghelyo nag-ingon nga ang mga sumusunod ni Kristo pagasakiton ug ang uban patyon. Gani, ang mga tinun-an pwedeng budhi-an sa ilang mga ginikanan, kaigsoonan ug kahigalaan. Nganong mahitabo man ang sama niini? Ang pinakadakong hinungdan mao si Satanas. Siya ang mohulhog og mga tawo nga masuko, magdumot, ug mopatay sa mga sumusunod ni Kristo. Si Satanas kontra sa kamatuoran; buhaton niya ang tanan aron pugngan si bisan kinsa nga magsangyaw o magpuyo nga matarong. Apan dili kita angay’ng mahadlok ug mabalaka tungod kay si Kristo mipasalig sa iyang makanunayong pagpakig-uban sa tanan nga mobarog para Kaniya: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebreo 13:5). Posted by Abet Uy


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Reflection for November 25, Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 21:12-19

Reflection: What made you decide to follow Jesus? Is it because of a promise of a good life, a life free from problems and worries from this world?  Many of us have this mistaken notion that it is easy to become a follower. But it’s not easy for to follow Jesus involves great sacrifice.

It involves deep humility, it involves giving-up some of our family time. To follow Jesus even involves making unpopular stand on family and societal issues such as abortion, immorality and the like.

There is no free ride going to Jesus, we have to pay, we have to sacrifice. Yet everything that we do for Jesus is well worth it. This is for the reason that whatever we do for Jesus, He will give back to us a hundred times.

Perhaps it may not be during our lifetime in this world. But certainly someday, somehow He will surely reward us very generously in the afterlife. Let us therefore always be faithful and courageous in our decision to follow Jesus whatever it may cost us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Friday, November 18, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday November 23, Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 21:12-19

Are you ready to be persecuted for Jesus?

We will undoubtedly be persecuted if we decide to faithfully follow Jesus; we will be losing friends. But we need not worry about persecution or losing friends for the sake of Jesus.

Therefore it is very important that we don’t make the mistake of betraying Jesus for the sake of this world. We must not make the mistake of betraying Jesus for the sake of vested friendships and interest. We must be faithful until the very end no matter the persecutions and sacrifices.

What would it benefit us if we gain the whole world yet we lose Jesus in our lives? We gain nothing except fleeting happiness; we gain nothing except temporal power and riches that may fly away from us anytime.

What would we gain if we have powerful friends if these friends bring us nothing but sinfulness which we often times enjoy? Nothing except disturbance in our lives! Should we allow ourselves to be deceived by these false friends who only bring us further away from the love of Jesus?

But the moment we decide to be faithful to Jesus no matter the temptations and persecutions. We’ll have peace that He only can give us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


UNDER SIEGE – It will lead to your giving testimony. – Luke 21:13

Have you experienced being in a tight situation? Like being surrounded by people who do not agree with you or who question the choices that you made? How did you feel in those circumstances?

There are two natural reactions or responses to these kinds of situations: fight or flight. It’s tempting to just flee from these situations every time we encounter them because it’s easier and more convenient to stay away from them. But God sometimes allows us to go through them so He can use us to give glory to His name.

I have personally experienced this countless of times. If it were only up to me, I would have avoided those difficult encounters. Thankfully, God granted me courage to endure being under siege. Moreover, He transformed those challenging circumstances into opportunities where I was able to give my testimony about His goodness, power and love.

It’s amazing how God can put the right words into our mouths when we are called to witness for Him, even when we did not rehearse what we needed to say.Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag (

Reflection: Are you open to opportunities to testify for God and His work in your life?

Lord, give me courage to be open to the promptings of Your Spirit. Help me to trust that You will supply the words that I need to say.


Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time

Rev 15: 1-4; Lk 21: 12-19

Salvific Suffering

This is the last week of the liturgical year and the readings reflect the persecutions that the disciples have to undergo at the end of the world. Suffering, hardships and persecutions are inevitable for the disciples of Jesus. In his book Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonheoffer says that when Jesus calls a person he bids him to come and die. Death is the cost of discipleship. We must be always prepared for it if we want to be the disciples of Jesus. Christ foretold the hardships that his followers would suffer long before the end of the world. He told the disciples “If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you.”   Persecution is a legacy bequeathed by Christ to his followers. This prophecy of Christ has been fulfilled many times throughout the history of the Church.  There were many persecutions in the early church. Many Christians became martyrs not only in the West but also in Asia in Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Christ assures us that whenever it happens, we will not be abandoned.   Jesus will be with us to strengthen us because that is the time we have to give witness to him. He advises that by perseverance we can overcome the opposition that we have to face for the sake of Jesus. If we believe Jesus is with us a prison can be like a palace.  The man who walks with Christ may lose his life but he can never lose his soul.

Christian life is not easy because it involves cross, suffering. Some people tell that those who suffer do so because of their sins. This is very unfortunate. Because suffering for the sake of Jesus is never the result of sin. Christ suffered, carried the cross and nailed to the cross. Does that mean Christ sinned? Does that mean that the Father was punishing Jesus for his sins? We suffer because God wants to share with us His cross. He shares what is dear to him only with his dear friends. St. Theresa of Avila was persecuted by everyone even by the church authorities. She was misunderstood and maligned by her own confreres. She was distressed, suffered dryness in her prayers for so many years. Finally, in prayer, she asked the Lord, “Why do you allow all these trials? Why do you allow all these persecutions to come to me? And the Lord appeared to Teresa of Avila and said, “Teresa, that is how I deal with my friends.” And Teresa responded, “That is why you have few friends.” We are his precious friends. Jesus called us not servants but friends. Therefore, we have to suffer the consequences of our friendship with Jesus.

Someone said, “When it is winter time, the leaves of our trees start to fall. But that is also the time when the roots of our trees sink more deeply into the earth.”When we suffer or persecuted we grow in deeper union with our Master whose mission and destiny we share. Moreover, we need to remember always that cross is not just a symbol of suffering, but is also one of victory. His suffering and death are vindicated by his resurrection. Therefore, our suffering for the sake of Jesus will have meaning. Let us pray that we may realize the meaning and the joy of suffering for the sake of Jesus and have the assurance of the presence of Jesus with us in times of suffering. Dr. Davis Varayilan CMI


November 23, 2016

A lot of leaders, especially political leaders, attract followers by making all kinds of promises involving a golden future, with all problems solved as if by magic. They thus succeed in making themselves popular and acclaimed. And why not? Who doesn’t like to think of the future in glowing terms?

In that respect, Jesus is ­strikingly different from such incurable optimists. His honesty is brutal. Far from promising a path of roses to his ­followers, he promises them contra­dictions, persecutions, betrayals on the part of loved ones, and even death. It is difficult for anyone to be more plain-spoken in ­announcing hardships of every kind, including martyrdom. Yet, in the very act of doing this, he remains strangely serene, as if the outcome of all he ­announces will eventually turn out to be entirely positive.

He even says something apparently contradictory: that some will die, and yet not a hair of their head will perish. He probably means that some will lose a lot more than their hair, but that eventually they will regain hair and lives in an eternity of glory. And this, of course, is well worth a few hairs…


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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