Take Heed That You Are Not Led Astray | iPray with the Gospel
And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, Jesus said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down…Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony…You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
It is worth reading these words of Our Lord, a prophecy which comes not from a prophet but from the Son of God Himself. When you read the prophecy a couple of times you realise that we are too familiar with the theme today. Jesus explains what will happen, what people will do to Christians. But He also explains what He is expecting from us: “This will be a time for you to bear testimony”, He said. And the word ‘testimony’ in Greek is ‘martyria’.
When persecutions started in Mexico in the 1920s, many Christians were martyred for their Faith. Bl José Sánchez del Río was 14 years old when he was tortured and killed for refusing to renounce his faith. When he was 13 his mother had tried to convince him to stay at home and not put his life at risk; but he answered her: “Mamá, it has never been easier to earn Heaven as now.” The words of this 13-year-old boy who died a martyr can feed our prayer today also, since we currently see in our world many of the things prophesied by Our Lord, and we are asked to ”bear testimony”. With our “endurance” we will earn Heaven, for it has never been easier.
Mary, Queen of Confessors, may I never be afraid to confess my faith with my life.