One of the challenges we face as Christians in our world today is being rejected or persecuted for the sake of the gospel. It has indeed become a norm now in our world. We are constantly persecuted by our society for being disciples of Christ. We are cajoled, threatened, maltreated and abused for believing in God. What even makes it painful is that a lot of the persecution, abuse, maltreatment and rejections we receive and experience come from family, friends and our fellow catholic christians. This is nothing new as we can see in today’s gospel reading, where Jesus faced the same challenges we are facing today, as He was rejected and persecuted in his native place. To this Jesus said to His disciples, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

But on the bright side, Jesus in that same gospel reading, teaches us how we should comport ourselves and what to do in those situations. Jesus in the gospel story we heard today, dealt with the situation of being rejected and persecuted by being patient and persevering. Patience and Perseverance are key in dealing with rejection and persecution for the sake of the gospel.

What is Patience? Patience is a form of the moral virtue of fortitude. It enables one to endure present evils without sadness or resentment in conformity with the will of God. Patience is mainly concerned with bearing the evils caused by another. The three grades of patience are: to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and even to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy.

What is Perseverance? Perseverance means not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it's hard. Perseverance is the virtue which disposes one to continuance in the accomplishment of good works in spite of the difficulties one encounters or experiences. It is a virtue which disposes one to continuance in any virtuous work whatsoever. Perseverance allows us to stay faithful to God when we come face to face with persecution and even death and remaining in the state of grace until the end of life.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5, verse 10 to 12 that “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” So let us follow Christ’s example in today’s gospel reading by being patient and persevering when we are rejected, persecuted, cajoled, threatened, maltreated and abused for the sake of gospel, because our reward will be great in heaven.