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Today, St Luke gives us two ideas from Jesus.  

First, Jesus warned his disciples that life as his followers would not be easy: 

‘People will seize you and persecute you … you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death.’ 

In contrast to that harsh warning, Jesus reassured his disciples: 

‘You will be hated by all on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’ 

The martyrs we remember this week, Andrew Dũng-Lạc and his Companions today and of St Catherine of Alexandrina tomorrow, remind us that suffering and persecution have always been a part of the Church. Last year, Pope Francis noted that this suffering continues today: 

‘There are many Christians who suffer persecutions in various areas of the world right now and today's martyrs are more than the martyrs of the first centuries.’ (Angelus, 29 March 2020) 

Most of us, thanks be to God, will not have to endure such suffering. But we do experience less obvious forms of pressure and pain. 

  • It can be very hard trying to live as Christians when friends and even family do not believe, have fallen away from the Church or reject the values that we cherish. 

  • Parents suffer when they see their daughters and sons leaving the Church. 

  • Some suffer in trying to live their Christian values while experiencing marriage or family problems. 

  • Sometimes we are torn between the values we believe in and the values of our friends. 

  • At other times, we can be torn between our Christian values and the values of our world.

 The world tells us that we should look for easy, happy lives. We should want a life of ‘endless sunshine’; there should be no rainy days, no pain, no suffering. 

Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? 

Jesus is more realistic. He tells us that life as his followers will never be ‘endless sunshine’. We will have to face the trials and problems that come our way. 

Jesus invites us to face our struggles with him. He invites us to see them, not as something to run away from, but as something to face head-on – with him. He invites us to see life’s problems as an opportunity. Now that sounds strange. But Jesus says, your struggles and trials

‘will be your opportunity to bear witness’

Importantly, Jesus offers us hope as we face life’s struggles:  

‘not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’ 

Pope Francis once spoke about hope, saying:

‘It is the attitude of hope in God, which allows us not to be overwhelmed by tragic events. (Pope Francis, Angelus, 17 November 2019) 

Then he continued: 

‘Christ’s disciples cannot remain slaves to fears and anxieties; instead they are called to live …  the certainty that the Lord’s action of goodness is always accompanied by His … reassuring tenderness.’ (Ibid) 
No matter what happens in our lives, ‘not a hair of our heads will be lost.’
We are always in God’s hands! The Lord’s reassuring tenderness is always with us. Our endurance will win us our lives.