It’s precisely when everything turns against you that you can tell whether or not you’ve grown inwardly.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.”
Too often, we forget that the best place to bear witness is precisely during the moments of difficulty that life offers us. A person is revealed fundamentally by the way he or she experiences a difficulty.
In fact, it’s precisely when everything turns against you that you can tell whether or not you’ve grown inwardly. Trusting God when everything is going well is just pretense. Trusting God when everything goes wrong, humanly speaking, makes us understand what level of faith we really have.
And very often, the worst difficulties do not consist in outwardly difficult situations, but in a kind of solitude which Jesus describes like this:
“You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.”
Our greatest trial in life is when we feel lonely and unsupported by fundamental relationships.
In that loneliness you can give in to the most utter despair, or make the greatest profession of faith in a God who will never, ever leave you alone, even when you feel abandoned. Those are moments when Jesus mysteriously whispers in our ear that “not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”
We don’t always hear him, but having faith means remembering that this is the case even if we don’t hear his voice immediately.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.