“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.”

Luke’s so-called Sermon on the Plain, started yesterday, continues today with Jesus giving His disciples a list of blessings and woes (Lk 6:20-26) reminiscent of the Beatitudes.  Blessings are extended to the poor, hungry, weeping, and hated while woes are given to their opposites: the rich, the filled, the laughing, and the exalted.  Reward and punishment in the next life will be meted out based on one’s actions in this life.  Regarding the headline, Jesus follows those words by saying God’s prophets were treated the same way; it was only false witnesses that were highly thought of, as He points out in the last verse of this passage.  If all of the prophets, and of course Jesus Himself, suffered hatred, exclusion, and insults for the sake of speaking the truth, why should we expect different, especially in a world that, more and more, rejects God and His moral law?  Recall the Apostles reaction to such action taken against them: After being flogged and reprimanded by the Jewish religious leaders, they left “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:41).    The head of these same Apostles, in his own letter, reiterates the point: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pt 4;14).  In a society growing increasingly hostile toward Christianity, we should consider it a badge of honor if we suffer because of our belief in Jesus.  We must always be bold in our faith.  Our reward here is a clear conscience and good example.  Our ultimate reward, if we persevere, is eternal life with the Truth we proclaimed and defended.

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