Revelation 15:1-4; Psalm 98; Luke 21:12-19
The vision John saw in the First Reading is about those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. These are those who gave up their lives despite the persecutions and threats they faced. Jesus tells us in the Gospel today, there will be persecutions on his disciples. People will hand them to prison and kings and governors because of his name. We see this today. Christians who speak against abortion and sodomy are judged in the public sphere, being branded and maligned. Christians who refuse to submit to the propaganda of the current culture lose their livelihoods and are bullied to silence.
Things will get worse in the coming days, especially for those in the West. During these times, we pray we will have courage to stand firm so we can eventually sing the song of Lamb: Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. We pray when the time comes to speak out, we will only fear God and glorify his name and remember, that even when we lose our lives, we will eventually receive it back from Jesus when he comes.
St Catherine was a princess and scholar in the 4th century. When the emperor persecuted Christians, she confronted the emperor. The emperor summoned his philosophers and orators to refute her belief, but several of them ended up becoming Christians and were put to death. Catherine was scourged and imprisoned and sentenced to die.
As we approach the end of the liturgical year, we remember, that we will come face to face with Jesus. Whether we come to him in defeat or in victory is our decision. We will never know how we will confront persecutions. I am not even sure how I will respond when I am persecuted. Which is why we need to pray that when the time comes, we will remain faithful to Jesus and accept whatever comes, for the glory of his name.
Lord, glorify your name. Let your right hand and holy arm win the victory. Give me the grace to stand in your Truth and never let me fall. St Catherine, pray that I may have courage to stand for the Lord in time of persecution.