Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10:17-22)
It seems very strange to speak about murder during these peaceful days of the Christmas octave; yet, that is precisely what we do today and in a couple of days. Today is the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr and in a couple of days, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents.
We know that Jesus brought with Him a radical teaching: a teaching of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
However, there are many who rejected — and still reject — that teaching. They do not live lives of love, mercy, and forgiveness. They live lives of hate and destruction because they are on the side of the devil.
We are stuck in the middle of a battle between God and the devil. They both long for our souls: God, because He loves us so much and wants to see us come home to Him and the devil who hates God so much that he would do all that he could to deprive God of the souls for which He longs.
In this world that is steeped in sin and wickedness, we are often called to speak up for the truth.
Do not be afraid.
If called to do so, Jesus has promised to give us the words that we need to speak.
He has never let His people down. He will be with you in your time(s) of need.
FAITH ACTION: As you reflect upon the peace that the Christ-child came to bring, remember that He will be with you even in days that are not quite so peaceful and that, if you trust Him, He will always give you His words.