Day 33 Of Lent: Suffering For a Just Cause(Jeremiah. 20:10-13/John 10:31-42)
The story of Jeremiah and Jesus in the first reading and gospel reading of this morning respectively, shows that when one is on the right track trying to do God's will that the person can pass through some moments of adversity. The Christian life is one that has a lot of crucibles that we must pass through before we reach our goal. Anyone who accepts the Christian faith and believes that it will be a cosy and smooth ride all the way must be making a big mistake. Living out our Christian lives in an authentic manner entails walking through the narrow and rough part of life and we can only survive it if we walk along with Jesus Christ who knows all the bad spots and how to avoid them. Jesus will tell his disciples that whoever will follow Him must carry a cross and the person must be ready to deny himself or herself in order to be able to follow Him welll. When one faces persecutions, trials, mob action, detraction and even being falsely accused like they did to Jesus and Jeremiah on the ground of knowing God and doing His will, we should be happy, because God will not abandon us, but will come to our defence and will vindicate us in due time.
That Jesus sneaked away from the hands of His persecutors was not an act of cowardice, but a move to keep him focused on the ultimate price which He was going to pay on the cross for our sake, that is, the shedding of His blood. His time has not come and He will not allow the evil one to cut it short.
Those who carried stones to throw at Jesus were ignorant of who He was and what His mission entails. They thought by stoning Him that they were doing a good act against a blasphemous person. This could be similar to what you may be passing through at the moment, however, in the course of our following Christ, People will want to destroy us just because we profess Christ and practice our Christian faith meticulously. In such moments, we must look unto Christ and gain the strength and wisdom on how to handle such people. We must let God be the judge and let Him fight our battle.
The good deeds that Jesus did provoked the people against Him, the same thing happened to Jeremiah, but they never gave up. We must continue to do our good deeds to convince the world that we are for Christ and that Jesus Christ is the ultimate. We must not stop doing good when we encounter oppositions or when we are criticised or persecuted, instead, we must silence those who fight against us through our good deeds. We must also not be part of those who try to stop the good works that people do or cast aspersions to it, because we are not the ones doing it. We must not be like the Jews who throw stones to good people.
We must allow ourselves to be possessed and guided by the Holy Spirit so that at all times and in all places we will ever be ready to carry out our good works in the name of Christ and promote good works wherever we see it being done. It is better to suffer and be called all sorts of name by people when you are doing the right thing, than to suffer and become an object of ridicule when you are doing ignoble things. Suffering for the sake of God is good, because it not only makes us to share in Christ's suffering, but also purifies us and makes us to have access to our heavenly inheritance. If Jesus could suffer adversity for doing good, we must be ready to go through the same thing in our world where the voices that speak of good is being silenced and voices that promote everything that is anti-God is being given the opportunity to speak.
We should ask God to give us His grace so that in our moments of persecutions and trials, we will not despair nor become despondent, rather, with God's strength we will survive and win our battle as Christ won his own. Never give up in the face of persecution, because God is with us and the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, you helped your Son our Lord Jesus Christ to overcome His persecutions in the hands of the Jews. Do the same for me and may I remain steadfast in doing good in the midst of oppositions that are against the good works that people do not your name. Amen.