Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28; Luke 21:12-19)
Recently Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., the president of the University of Notre Dame, publicly defended one of the university’s faculty members from an unjust accusation. When a law professor of the university was nominated for a federal judgeship, a number of senators attacked her as living by dogma. What bothered the senators was the professor’s conviction that abortion is wrong. Fr. Jenkins wrote an open letter saying that he too lived by dogma as do millions of other Americans.
The implied criticism of Church dogma reflects today’s gospel. Jesus tells his disciples that they will be persecuted because they preach him. The persecution begins soon after his death and resurrection as attested in the Acts of the Apostles. It waxed and waned for three hundred reaching a climax just before the Emperor Constantine granted Christians religious freedom. And it has never really ended until the present day. Christians themselves have sometimes provoked harsh reactions, but more often people resent the Church for preaching the justice of God’s kingdom.
We should not be surprised if we hear snide remarks made against us. A generation ago Catholics were supposedly undermining the common good by having large families. More recently we are ridiculed for believing in what the sophisticated call fantasies such as the resurrection of the dead. As Jesus advises, we should not become too outraged. Rather our stance should always be like his cool defense of what we believe. It does not rest on sophisticated argument but on the gospel we receive from him.