Persecuted for Our Faith…
Jesus told the disciples that their faith in Him would cause them to be persecuted:
“Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them. When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say. But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit. 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 the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” -Mark 13:9,11-13, NAB
Christ was continuing His conversation with the disciples, specifically Peter, James, John, and Andrew, and we know that all of them, except John, died a martyr’s death. In fact, many of the first Christians were persecuted for their faith. But being persecuted for having faith in Christ is a thing of the past, right? Wrong.
I do not like to go overly political on Waking Up Catholic because it is not the primary purpose or message of this site, but the goal of these Daily Bible Verses is to teach people how to read the Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, and ignoring the lesson from this verse, and how it applies today, would not keep in line with that goal.
So how does this verse apply in today’s world? How are we being persecuted? We may not be thrown in jail or become martyrs for our beliefs (not in the Western world anyway), but our rights are being infringed upon. The world is seeking to silence the Catholic voice and not allow us to have our own public opinion. Our Catholic values are under attack.
Recently in the United States, the owner of a restaurant chain, Chick-Fil-A, is being stopped from opening stores in certain major cities because of his defense of traditional marriage. A recent law, the HHS mandate, went into effect on August 1st, which forces religious institutions, that provide support for people outside of their faith, to offer health insurance that includes coverage for contraceptives. Last year, charities lost state funding for being unwilling to offer adoption services to same-sex couples. The list goes on.
Our religious freedoms are under attack. If we voice our opinion in the public square, we will be persecuted for it. We may not be put to death for our views in the Western world, but there are those who read these Daily Bible Verses in countries where their lives may be threatened for these views. Others may face economic and political sanctions, such as Chick-Fil-A. We have even been labeled closed-minded bigots for standing up for our values, even though they have stayed true for 2,000 years now. Whether we are put to death or not, persecution is still persecution, regardless of what form it takes.
Listen, I do not care who you vote for (if you live in a country where you’re lucky enough to have a vote) from a political party perspective. There are problems that I see with both liberal and conservative parties – neither fully represent my values as a Catholic. What we must do, then, is vote for those who most closely represent our faith and values. Sometimes, this may be the only way to make our voice heard.
The real shame in the United States, from my perspective, is that our options are limited to two candidates. Out of 300 million people, are these the best candidates we could find? Honestly, they both fail, from their proven track records, to represent my faith and values in the public square. How is it that we, as Christians who make up a supposed 79.5% of the population, have not found candidates that truly represent our values? Election after election, I feel forced to vote for the lesser of two evils – there is something majorly wrong with that.
Jesus tells the disciples to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide their words, and we must do the same today. In fact, we must allow Him to guide our words and our votes in upcoming elections. Being persecuted for our Christian faith is not a thing of the past; it is a reality that holds true today. Let’s make our voices heard, no matter what the cost may be. We must stand together as Catholics, and Christians as a whole, to make sure that our voices are heard, loud and clear.