The Holy Apostle Timothy; the Holy Venerable-Martyr Anastasius the Persian (628)
2 Peter 1:20-2:9; Mark 13:9-13
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
At different times in history, Christians have experienced tests of their commitment to Christ. During the Roman persecutions, Christians who refused to sacrifice to pagan gods could be imprisoned or killed; Christians under Nazi and Communist rule often took great risks to remain faithful to the Church; and today, Christians in the Middle East have been driven from their homes or even killed because of they refuse to forsake their faith.
For me, even though faithfulness to Christ doesn’t involve life and death decisions, it is still frequently a test. Often, talking about my faith means having uncomfortable conversations: I admit to a coworker that I can’t make a Sunday meeting because of Church; I nervously try to defend the pro-life position with a skeptical family member; I try to convince a friend to pray about her struggles. Witnessing to our faith and how it effects our lives can be a harrowing experience – sometimes we really feel like we are sitting in the witness box in court, as our beliefs are torn to shreds. But today’s gospel assures us that the Holy Spirit will inspire us in those moments, which means that when we tell others what Christ has done for us, we are never alone. I may never witness to Christ before a firing squad or violent mob; when I do have the chance to bear witness for him with those I meet, family or friends, whose respect I want to keep, may I remember that his love will sustain me, no matter what.