The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’
First reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
As noted yesterday the above words are often read by Christians as prophetic of the suffering imposed on Christ in his Passion.
They also will sometimes give expression to the situation we find ourselves in, as we challenge at least some of the mores and values of our own age. For sure many in our age do complain loud and clear about Christians seeking to interfere in their way of life.
And sometimes they do so with good cause. The Church has too often sought to impose its views on others. Not infrequently this has been done in a way that can seem, to Christians and non-Christians alike, alien to the example of Jesus and harmful to the preaching of the Gospel.
But as Jesus, despite his kindliness and mercy and righteousness, met with rejection and hatred, so too will we, even when we are at our best, and this is often tough for us to bear.
- Lord, watch over us and sustain us in faithfulness.
Fresco of Deacon martyrs, Chartreuse, Villeneuve les Avignon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris