Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
In our Gospel reading for today, Jesus warns His disciples that they will be persecuted, and put in prison, and "led before kings and governors" because of His name: "It will lead to your giving testimony." In the U.S., we will not be led before kings and governors because of our faith. But we are confronted by a culture of death. Yesterday marked the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. We are face-to-face with greed and injustice and violence.
This, too, will lead us to "giving testimony." In the Gospel, Jesus says, "Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." Perhaps the "wisdom in speaking" to which Jesus refers is the testimony of our lives. If we live our lives in such a way that the Gospel is proclaimed through us, no one can refute our testimony because we are striving to "walk the walk," as well as "talk the talk." We will be seeking to share the love and grace we have in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
In the midst of turmoil and upheaval, we are called to remain faithful in our testimony; living in hope, knowing that Christ is King; that He has won the victory for us, and that He promises us that we will be given what we need to proclaim the Good News in our lives. If we remain faithful, it will not matter whether these are the end times or not. We will be ready. As Jesus says, "By your perseverance you will secure your lives." May we persevere in the grace and love of God!
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.