28 November. Wednesday of Week Thirty Four
Lk 21:12ff. The disciples of Jesus will be persecuted, yet not a hair of their head will be harmed.
By patience you will save your lives
The final sentence of the gospel, perhaps later added to Jesus’ words as commentary and application, directs our meditation today. “By patience you will save your lives.” It is another one of those floating comments that can fit into many situations. It occurred earlier in Luke 8:15 in a somewhat adapted form, where the seed bore fruit “through patience.”
The Greek word for patience or endurance (hypomoné) is like our modern phrase “hanging in there” and reflects an inner attitude of perseverance, consistency, dependability. With this in mind, we can re-read today’s scriptures and first of all, the gospel. Persecution cannot break such a steady person, nor can family relationships that seem to be strained beyond all limits. “You will be delivered up even by your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.” In times such as this, we must continue in our loyalty to God. We need the conviction that sooner or later God will justify us, and at that moment because of continued fidelity our family and community will reunite. In the meanwhile Jesus promises “I will give you a wisdom which none of your opponents can take exception to or contradict.” Our words will be prompted by true love and honest fidelity. Such words will have power to persuade and will gradually bear their good fruit.
People of “patient endurance” can, according to Revelation, join in the song that Moses, the servant of God sang after leading the people through the Red Sea (Exodus, 15). Like the people led by Moses, we too face stretches of wilderness and desert. We can do nothing other than push onward and persevere. Even ev it may seem heroic simply to survive another day, heroic we must be so that by endurance we can arrive at the promised land and join in the song of Moses, “Mighty and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations!”
Truly, “by patience you will save your lives”. This line, which can fit into many different moments of our lives and enable us to carry onward towards the promised land, has a nice ring in the Latin translation of St. Jerome: in patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras – “In your patience you will possess your souls.”
First Reading: Revelation 15:1-4
Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.
And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.”
Gospel: Luke 21:12-19
“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.