Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 10:8-11; Luke 19:45-48)
A few years ago John Allen, one of the leading Vatican journalists, wrote a disturbing book titled The Global War on Christians. The book wakes comfortable Christians from their slumber. Many think the days of religious persecution ended with the Puritan witch hunts. The truth that Allen records is that persecution of Christians in places like Korea, China, and in many predominantly Muslim areas is rampant.
Sunday we celebrate Christ the King, the hope of Christians suffering religious persecution. They know that sooner or later Christ will triumph over religious bigotry, no matter the setbacks now being experienced. The reading from Revelation today hints of this victory. The sweetness that John, the visionary, tastes comes from his narrating the ultimate triumph of Jesus. The sourness in the stomach reflects the great suffering that must be endured in the process.
Some are predicting religious persecution in the United States soon. The Church has certainly lost its credibility among many people. The global experience of Christians should advise us that harassment at least is possible. But whether or not there will be full-fledged persecution of the Church, we too look to Christ the King for assurance that justice will ultimately prevail.