Giving Testimony

Luke 21: 12-19
Rev 15:1-4 / Psa 98:1-3,7-9

This will result in your giving testimony to them.
(Luke 21:13)

It may seem like “persecution”
When we are called to give witness;
But it is our obligation
Even when we’re “under duress”.

(Jesus said): “Before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your giving testimony to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:12-19)

Reflection

God allows us to go through trials and persecutions because He knows these will lead us to give witness to our faith. In times of persecution, it may be the opportunity to glorify our Lord by persevering even more in our work of evangelization. Otherwise, we may fall by the wayside if we allow ourselves to be overcome by apathy, our short temper, fatigue, or self-pity.

I had been working relentlessly to beat the deadline to finish our Souvenir Program coffee table book, which was one of the highlights of BCBP Davao’s 25th Founding Anniversary. When I accepted this task, it was with an inspired heart of service – a chance to evangelize about the goodness of our Lord in the growth of our Brotherhood. But somewhere along the way, my enthusiasm began to wane when the book’s contributors seemed to be taking their time, and my deadlines were continually being extended. This had made me become dour, and I think it might have showed in some of our meetings. In one of our masses, I asked the Lord’s forgiveness for my eroded perseverance. Our Lord is a kind Father. I believe He restored my enthusiasm to serve with love as a real steward should.

Our sacrifices in serving the Lord pale in comparison to those who go on missions abroad, especially in places like India, Africa or China, where the practice of our faith is strictly prohibited or regulated. But wherever we are, we are all called on a mission to share about our Lord Jesus Christ, especially during times of personal turmoil, grief, or financial crisis. It is in times of extreme duress or distress that true faith emerges.

All of us are called to give witness, or to share our life testimony about God’s miracle in our lives, especially those who are in the renewal. Many regard this as the modern equivalent of the Christian persecution, because the greatest fear of most people is to stand at the podium in front of an audience. It will do them well to heed the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Lk.21:15) Yes, as we have heard in many a sharing, it is the Holy Spirit that speaks through us; we have nothing to fear.

Father God, in times when we are put to the test on account of Your Name, grant us the grace to be bold in our ministry. Renew our spirit that we might bring glory and honor to You. We pray for all those Christians who are suffering persecution and death for the sake of the Gospel. Empower them with Your Holy Spirit to persevere in their faith in Jesus, in Whose name, we pray. Amen.

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