In many ways, we are lucky today. Despite political rhetoric arguing otherwise, we live in a time and a country, where we are able to live out our faith. We live in a time and a country where the words of Jesus in today’s gospel passage don’t speak to a reality that many of us can say we have experienced: persecution.
It’s perhaps an important reminder for us of what genuine persecution looks like. A recent report by Open Doors International highlighted the fact that there are many countries in our world where being a Christian poses a genuine danger to a person’s safety.
One country that wasn’t on the list? Australia. Perhaps today’s gospel is a two-fold opportunity: firstly, to be thankful that we are able to practice our faith. That we have many opportunities in our society to live out Jesus’ core mission to serve the “least of these brothers and sisters of mine,” (Mt 25:40).
However, secondly, to pray in earnest for those Christians living under persecution around the world. There is an almost paradoxical reality that persecution and strength of faith go hand in hand. Perhaps this is Jesus’ words from our gospel today at work, “Your endurance will win you your lives.” Either way, we pray for those persecuted Christians around the world, that in their suffering, they may know the presence and comfort of our crucified Lord.
Luke Bulley CP serves as the assistant priest at St Paul Apostle in Endeavour Hills. He is also a co-founder and Team Leader of The Francis Project, an interdenominational school for Church renewal.