“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.” Lk. 21:12
“… there have been seventy million martyrs since the time of Christ. Of that total, fully half, or forty-five million, went to their deaths in the twentieth century…” John Allen, The Global War on Christians
I just started reading John Allen’s new book: The Global War on Christians. John Allen is a respected Vatican journalist who covers global issues. He is one of the best. His book is helping me to see the church in a new light.
On the world stage, Christianity is not a global power. Christianity is primarily made up of oppressed minorities and women who are often persecuted for their beliefs. Many Christians today are suffering for their faith, often to the point of death.
This fact makes us uncomfortable. We tend to think of our faith as a source of peace, and indeed it is, but it is a peace that the world cannot give.
“Hearing accounts of how Muslim radicals in Egypt pour sulfuric acid on the wrists of Coptic Christians in order to eviscerate the tattooed crosses most Copts wear is not exactly conducive to inner peace. It’s disturbing and uncomfortable, and perhaps not what some Christians in the West are seeking,” (Allen 17).
The Gospel is not comfortable. It challenges us to look deep within ourselves and find a love beyond our capacity and a faith beyond our strength. The witness of these martyrs can give us hope and perspective. Hope in God’s power to conquer death. Perspective in seeing that love alone matters.
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood