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WE WILL BE PERSECUTED IF WE ARE TRUE CHRISTIANS
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 14th Week of the Year, July 08, 2011
Gen. 46:1-7, 28-30, Ps. 36, Matt. 10:16-23


"And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt. 10:22).


It is necessary that true disciples of Christ will be hated, rejected, criticized, and persecuted in this world. This is the clear teaching of Jesus Christ. We will be misunderstood and persecuted because we have made a clean break with the world, with its ways, its styles, and its ideals, to the point that we are no longer of the world (John 15:19; 17:14). Nominal Christians, on the other hand, have made no such break with the world and its ways and are not normally persecuted for being Christians.


A true Christian who has been born again through faith in Jesus Christ has become a new man and a new creation. He cannot continue living as he once did. It is an error to continue living as before, although many who call themselves Christians do so. We also need to grow in sanctification, continually advancing in our understanding of the meaning and ramifications of our new life in Christ. But once we have matured somewhat in this new life, it is certain that the world will hate and persecute us, for we have rejected its customs and lifestyle.


The world notices that we are now different than others, that we now want to live a serious life, completely dedicated to God, and want to separate ourselves from the temptations of the flesh in order to guard our heart undivided in its love for the Lord and in its dedication to him in every aspect of our life. Others see that we want to live a life of prayer and fasting, reserving our heart only for the Lord and guarding it lest it become divided by passing loves, by the beauty of the flesh, or by other worldly temptations. They also notice that we do not participate in secular diversions that waste time, distract the mind, confuse the emotions and desires, and arouse the passions. Seeing all of this in us, the world rejects, hates, and persecutes us. But in this, we carry our cross for Christ's sake, God rewards us in our heart, and our future is filled with bright hope.


"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19). "I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). "All this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me" (John 15:21). When we are persecuted, we should not fear, for "who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled" (1 Pet. 3:13-14). We must confess Christ before men by our way of life and not deny him before men by imitating the styles of the world (Matt. 10:32-33); but in confessing him, we will be persecuted. "Yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God" (Pet. 4:16).

 

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