Persecutions are not a reality of the past
Jesus warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live.
He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice.
In living the Gospel, we cannot expect that everything will be easy, for the thirst for power and worldly interests often stands in our way. Politics, mass communications and economic, cultural and even religious institutions become so entangled as to become an obstacle to authentic human and social development.
As a result, the Christian Life, as exemplified in The Beatitudes, is not easy to live out to the full; any attempt to do so will be viewed negatively, regarded with suspicion, and met with ridicule.
Yet the Cross remains the source of our growth and sanctification. We must never forget that when the New Testament tells us that we will have to endure suffering for the Gospel’s sake, it speaks precisely of persecution.
Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies. Jesus calls us blessed when people “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt 5:11). At other times, persecution can take the form of gibes that try to caricature our faith and make us seem ridiculous.