Friday of Week 14 in Ordinary Time
“You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Persecution exists in various forms; some are emotional, intrinsic and situational, while others transform into violence, faith mutilation, and damning brutal consequences. There are things that could lead to persecution — they range from tribal differences, and personality characterisation to faith disparity.
Persecution of Christians looks back to the foundation of Christianity, the cross as the symbol of the suffering of the founder of that faith, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews were opposed to that brand of faith and teaching, and so were the Romans, who superintended over civilisation for a long time. During the Crusades in the period between 1095 and 129, Christians fought bitter wars against persecutions, intrusions, and Islamic rules imposed on the holy land of Jerusalem and surrounding areas. And the early knights formed groups to protect Christians going to Jerusalem on pilgrimages from attacks and persecutions.
The encounters of Christians in pursuing the tenets of Christianity from the time of its proclamation by Christ remain the same to this day. The pursuit of Christianity is tied to the resource content of salvation, a divine-driven consideration buried in the resilience of hope and total surrender to God.
Christians have continued to live this belief and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, in submission and commitment with the attendant sacrifices. In Nigeria, various international organisations have reported and painted gruesome pictures of the killing of Christians in the country, and as recent as a short period between January 2021 to March 2022, more than 6000 Christians lost their lives in various attacks within the country, with some 400 churches torched and burnt; in the same period, some 25 priests and pastors were either murdered or abducted. These attacks and killings are directed at extermination and exertion with the aim of pressuring Christians to abandon their faith. But these arrows of faith mutilation are aiming at nothing because Christianity is entrenched in belief with the concrete assurance that “he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved” [Mt10:22]
(Today’s OXYGEN by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, KSJI, KSG, JP)
Prayer: Lord, please help us to sustain our faith and hope in you for we are faithful to your cause; guide our path against any persecution, and provide us with the determination and courage to fight against enemies of our faith. We believe and trust you will continue to guide us against evil forces. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for protecting us and guiding us against the forces of persecution and those gunning to trample over our faith and belief. We now have a strong defense of confidence and courage. Thank you, Lord.