Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God’ (Jn 16:2). Back then, it was a prophecy. In our days this prophecy has come true. Such is the severity of the persecution that Christians face from certain groups who think that by severing the heads of Christians they are propitiating an entity whom they call god, but in fact is God’s arch-rival.
Persecution has been the share of Christians through centuries and there is nothing new in it. We have overcome it many times. Wherever Christians were persecuted, it resulted in the Church growing at a faster pace. Our persecutors also know it. But strangely they continue the same old strategy of killing us with the ulterior motive of gaining control over us by increasing their numbers. They think that they can destroy the faith of millions of Christians by physically eliminating them. They have erred on two fronts; first in faith and then in history because the number of Christians who happily sacrificed their life for Jesus Christ is beyond anybody’s guess.
Yet our persecutors do it. Their motive is as simple as the perverted philosophy that guides them. Both converge at the point where the followers of this philosophy are told that their seats in a particular kind of heaven are assured, provided they kill others. When a person is taught to hate his neighbor for the sole reason of having a different religious faith, we call it religious bigotry. When they kill their neighbors for their faith in Christ we know that it is a result of them hating Christ. And when cold blooded murders, often by beheading hapless victims, accompanied by violent cries in an alien language exalting their god as great, we know that they do it not for the simple pleasure of overpowering us but to offer their heinous act of killing others as a kind of worship to their god! If there indeed is an entity who takes pleasure in his followers offering him the heads of innocent men, women and children as sacrifice, that entity cannot be god. But they are blind to the truth. They are far away from truth and as long as they continue to pledge their loyalty to a diabolic philosophy that tries to ape the true gospel, there is no chance of them getting the light of truth.
We know it. We know the reason also and we know that they will continue to do it because Jesus has warned us in advance. ‘And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me’ (Jn 16:3). The purpose of this warning was to help us prepare for those days. ‘But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them ’(Jn 16:3).
Yes, it is time to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ that a time will come when our heads will be served as sacrifice to a bloodthirsty god by men who are yet to throw off the shackles of an abominable god-concept and who are trapped to believe that they become entitled to a strange kind of heaven with dozens of consorts and rivers full of wine, post death.
They need our blood to soak their seats in this heaven and we are born for this moment; to suffer at the hands of people who are deceived to the core in their faith. We endure it not for a few trifles but for the crown of eternal glory that awaits us. Take heart and march ahead, for we do not know the time when our names will be called.
Let us pray; O Jesus, give us the faith and strength to overcome the days of persecution to which we have already entered. Amen.