the home front
"Jesus said to them, 'No prophet is without honor except in his native place, indeed in his own house.' " —Matthew 13:57
We as Christians expect Herod (Mt 14:1ff), Hitler, and Planned Parenthood to be our enemies. We may be surprised when our own religious leaders attack and reject us (see Mt 12:1ff). And we are usually shocked when our hometown folk, even our own family, reject and persecute us (see Mt 13:57). We understand the lament of the psalmist: "If an enemy had reviled me, I could have borne it; if he who hates me had vaunted himself against me, I might have hidden from him. But you, my other self, my companion and my bosom friend! You, whose comradeship I enjoyed; at whose side I walked in procession in the house of God!" (Ps 55:13-15)
We Christians are our own worst enemies. When we Christians are "hit close to home," we are hit hard. Therefore, we must arm ourselves with the mentality that we will suffer in the flesh (1 Pt 4:1), even from those closest to us. Jesus made it clear that "a man's enemies" would be "those of his own household" (Mt 10:36). Jesus said: "You will be delivered up even by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. All will hate you because of Me" (Lk 21:16-17). All who even want "to live a godly life in Christ Jesus" will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12), possibly by their families.
When we hear this sobering news of persecution on the home front, we should rejoice that we have been chosen to be like Jesus by sharing in His sufferings.
Prayer: Father, in this year of the Great Jubilee, send the Holy Spirit to teach me how to share in Christ's sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death (Phil 3:10).
Promise: "Perhaps they will listen and turn back, each from his evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them for their evil deeds." —Jer 26:3
Praise: Ministering to nearly 20,000 visitors a year, St. John often spent sixteen hours a day hearing confessions. The recital of man's sinfulness caused him to weep.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000