Life can be difficult. Terrible things happen to us, to others across the planet and to the world in general. But it is our faith that gives us hope in the midst of suffering. We know that God watches over us, cares for us, and has given us the promise of eternal life. We celebrate Mass every weekend to praise and thank God for all the blessings that have been bestowed on us. Blessings that help us cope with the misfortunes, the wrongs, and the evil that we suffer.
In our readings today, Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus all faced persecution for their values aligned with God’s, not society's. Jeremiah’s message that Jerusalem’s fall was God’s punishment for the people’s sinfulness did not win him many friends. Instead, his friends stood ready to take vengeance on him. Paul repeatedly preached a countercultural message across the gentile world. Jesus found enemies among both religious and political authorities. Tradition holds that Jeremiah was martyred in exile after the fall of Jerusalem, killed by fellow exiles. If this is true, then all three died at the hands of their persecutors. But Jesus told the twelve God would watch over them. “Every hair on your heads is counted. Do not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul.” We have no less an obligation to bear witness to our faith in an often cynical and intolerant world. What are we reluctant to take a stand on? Our life in the Lord can overcome our very real fears in our day-to-day life.
Love, Peace, Joy,