“But watch yourselves (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς); for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mk 13: 9-13)

The Lord urges us to “watch ourselves,” in the dangerous business of bearing witness to Him, – as if this is the type of thing that might happen to us when we’re not paying attention, or even against our will. And so it is, and has been, throughout Church History. Those of us least capable, and perhaps even least willing, to preach the Gospel “to all nations,” have been dragged into situations in which we find ourselves doing just that. Simply because of who or Whose we are, and that is, “Christian,” or Christ’s. His name might come between us and those most dear to us, or between us and those most illustrious in our society, as something hateful.

Today if I find myself rejected, simply for who I am, let me not be anxious but grateful, for the reminder. I need not muster up the words that will make me “likeable,” as much as I would love to be “likeable,” but hand myself over to the will and word of the Holy Spirit, Who liberates me to be my true self, according to my vocation. By way of certain, painful rejections, I am re-affirmed in my sense of belonging and identity, to and in Christ. Thank You, Lord, for guiding us to “salvation”; to become more and more who we are, fully and truly human, in You.

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