As if to confirm this, Jesus said in the Gospel today: beware of those who oppose you, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. A Christian should expect to be persecuted because people will not accept the Truth we proclaim.
We see this today. Those who stand for life are shut down and physically harmed. Those who stand for the sanctity of marriage and of the human person are shut down and persecuted, often losing their livelihood. The days are coming when Christians will be openly persecuted and Christians need to stand up, not to fight through violence, but by speaking the Truth, relying on the Holy Spirit who will give us what we will say at that time.
Jesus said: but the one who endures to the end will be saved. We are called to endure to the end. Life will be difficult for Christians in the coming months. We will be persecuted and abused and ridiculed. But these are opportunities to say Yes to Jesus, to confess him as Lord. I do not know how I will act when the time comes. But we pray that when that time comes, we may be ready to give up our lives to confess to the world, that Jesus is Lord and have confidence that even if we lose everything, we will, in the end, gain Jesus Christ. This alone is enough.
Lord, give me courage to stand for you, to confess you are Lord. May I have the courage to give glory to your name. St Stephen, help me to rely on the Spirit to speak the Truth in wisdom. Help me to give my life for Jesus.