By Stephanie Landsem
“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified,
for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”.~Luke 21:9
When you hear of wars and insurrections
Today’s Gospel could be seen as one of fear and trembling as Jesus tells of what is to come at the end of our world – predictions that sound a lot like the nightly newscast:
- Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (war in Ukraine)
- Powerful earthquakes (natural disasters across the world)
- Famine (inflation that leaves our poorest children hungry)
- Plagues (Covid and its aftermath)
- They will seize and persecute you (Pro-life supporters)
Some of us even experience some of Jesus’ other predictions:
- You will be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends (family divisions)
- You will be hated because of my name (persecutions of Christians)
Who wouldn’t be filled with fear at Jesus’ warnings and what we see happening in our world? And yet, this is not what Jesus wants us to hold on to. Instead, it seems that Jesus is telling us that these predictions are blessings, not punishments.
“Do not be terrified,” he says. “It will lead to your giving testimony.” And not only that but testimony that “all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.”
Not all of us will be hauled before a courtroom to give literal testimony to Jesus (we hope!). So how will we give testimony to Jesus and our faith – in a way that is impossible for our adversaries to refute?
One important way we can all give testimony concretely and visibly is by practicing the corporal works of mercy.
- Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty (Our food shelves are in dire need)
- Shelter the homeless, visit the sick (support women and their unborn babies)
- Visit the prisoners (support pro-life candidates who oppose the death penalty)
- Bury the dead (volunteer for your parish’s funeral ministry)
- Give alms to the poor (Give to the guy holding the sign on the corner — with a smile, a kind word, and a promise to pray for him)
Do Not Be Terrified
Above all, do not succumb to the fear that has infiltrated our nation, neighborhoods, and sometimes even our families. As followers and believers in Jesus Christ’s promise to make all things new, we put our trust in Him – not in nations, safety, political parties, or economic stability.
Jesus has allowed us the blessing of ample and daily opportunities to give testimony to Him with the works of mercy. Works that are good for our souls, good for our neighbors, and a concrete and irresistible testimony to our faith that cannot be refuted by adversaries. Plus, when we’re busy doing Jesus’ work here on earth, we won’t have time to dwell on our fears.
Holy Spirit, let me not have a spirit of fear but one of firm hope. Open my eyes and my heart to see the everyday ways I can give testimony to Jesus and my faith.
Call to Action
Choose a corporal work of mercy to do this week, write it on your calendar, and do it!
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