Wednesday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
increase our eagerness to do your will
and help us to know the saving power of
You live and reign with the Father and the
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 21,12-19
Jesus said to
his disciples: 'You will be seized and persecuted; you will be handed over to
the synagogues and to imprisonment, and brought before kings and governors for
the sake of my name -and that will be your opportunity to bear witness.
Make up your
minds not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence
and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.
You will be
betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you
will be put to death. You will be hated universally on account of my name, but
not a hair of your head will be lost.
perseverance will win you your lives.
• In today’s
Gospel, which is the continuation of the discourse begun yesterday, Jesus lists
the different signs to help the communities to place themselves in the events
and not to lose faith in God, nor the courage to resist against the attacks of
the Roman Empire. We will repeat the first five signs mentioned in yesterday’s
1st sign: the false Messiahs (Lk
2nd sign: war and revolutions
(Lk 21, 9);
3rd sign: nations which fight against other
nations, a kingdom against another kingdom (Lk 21, 10);
4th sign: earth quakes in
different places (Lk 21, 11);
5th sign: hunger, plagues and
signs in the sky (Lk 21, 11);
The Gospel of yesterday ends here. Now, in
today’s Gospel another sign is added:
6th sign: the persecution of
Christians (Lk 21, 12-19).
• Luke 21,12. The
sixth sign is the persecution. Various times, in the few years which he
lived among us, Jesus had warned the disciples that they would be persecuted.
Here, in the last discourse, he repeats the same warning and makes them know
that the persecution has to be taken into consideration in discerning the signs
of the times: “You will be seized and persecuted, you will be handed over to
the Synagogues and to imprisonment, and brought before kings and governors, for
the sake of my name”. And of these, apparently very negative warnings,
Jesus had said: “Do not be terrified for this is something that must happen
first, but the end will not come at once”. (Lk 21, 9). And the Gospel of
Mark adds that all these signs “have only begun, this is the
beginning of the birth pangs!” (Mk 13, 8). Now, the birth pangs though
being very painful for the mother are not a sign of death, but rather of life!
They are not a reason to fear, but rather to hope! This way of reading the
events brings peace to the persecuted communities. Thus, reading or hearing
these signs, prophesized by Jesus in the year 33, the readers of Luke of the
years 80 could conclude: “All these things already take place according to the
plan foreseen and announced by Jesus! Therefore, the history has not escaped
from God’s hand! God is with us!"
• Luke 21,
13-15: The mission of the Christians during the time of persecution. Persecution
is not something fatal, neither can it be a reason for discouragement or for
despair, but it should be considered as a possibility offered by God, in a way
that the communities may carry out the mission of witnessing to the Good News
of God. God says: “That will be your opportunity to bear witness. Make up
your minds not to prepare your defence because I myself shall give you
eloquence and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or
By means of this affirmation Jesus encourages the persecuted Christians who
lived anguished. He makes them know that, even if persecuted, they had a
mission to carry out, that is: to give witness of the Good News of God and thus
be a sign of the Kingdom (Ac 1, 8). The courageous witness would lead the people
to repeat what the magi in Egypt said before the signs and to have courage like
Moses and Aaron: “The finger of God is here” (Ex 8, 15). Conclusion: if
the communities should not be worried, if everything is in God’s hands, if
everything was already foreseen, if everything is nothing more than birth
pangs, then there is no reason to worry.
• Luke 21,
16-17: Persecution even within the family. “You will be betrayed even by
parents and brothers, relations and friends, and some of you will be put to death;
you will be hated universally on account of my name”. Persecution does not
only come from outside, from the Empire, but also from inside, on the part of
one’s own family. In one same family, some accepted the Good News, others did
not. The announcement of the Good News caused divisions within families. There
were even some persons, who basing themselves on the Law of God, denounced and
killed their own relatives who declared themselves followers of Jesus (Dt 13,
• Luke 21,
18-19: the source of hope and of resistance. “But not a hair of your head
will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives!” This final
observation of Jesus recalls the other word which Jesus had said: “But not a
hair of your head will be lost!” (Lk 21, 18). This comparison was a strong
call not to lose faith and to continue righteously in the community. And this
also confirms what Jesus had said on another occasion: Anyone who wants to save
his life will lose it, but anyone who will lose his life for my sake will save
it” (Lk 9, 24).
4) Personal questions
• How do you usually read the stages of the
history of your life or of your country?
• Looking at the history of humanity of the
last years, has hope increased or diminished in you?
5) Concluding prayer
Yahweh has made
known his saving power,
saving justice for the nations to see,
mindful of his faithful love
and his constancy to the House of Israel. (Ps 98,2-3)