Thursday, June 14, 2018
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11,12
I have friends who are conservative and they have claimed this verse as one which speaks of their personal experience. AND … I have friends who are progressive and they too have claimed this verse as one which speaks of their personal experience. And both I believe are actually speaking about the experience of “being reviled”. One definition of “revile” is … “to criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner”.
In His placing this last in the list of the Blessings, I find that it is rather confessional on the part of Christ. I sense He is saying to the people, “As the prophets of the past were in their reviled and persecuted, so am I in this my time.” And He prepares His followers for what they too will experience … in their time.
Zealous people can venture into cruelty. Defenders of a certain point-of-view can step over the line into cruelty. People who are trying to gain control can resort to cruel ways. But as Christ modelled for His followers … we must not allow the ways of the revilers and persecutors become our own ways. We must not seduced into the hatred they espouse.
And what is the compensatory blessing which comes to one who suffers at the words and the revilers and at the hands of the persecutors? The respect of the Lord for choosing the nobler course. And for myself … that is of great worth to my soul.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz