We all remember the year 1999, when there was this uproar about the year 2000, which many so called earthly prophets or prophetesses predicted that the world will come to an end. Everyone was scared, worried, anxious and in fear, of what would happen next, as was predicted by these false prophets and prophetesses. But nothing happened. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those sentiments came back again, and some of our false prophets and prophetesses attempted to cash in on people’s fear saying, that God was angry at us and was punishing us for our sins, and that the world was coming to an end soon. But we are still here, and the world has not ended and God is still with us; still blessing us; still guiding us and still protecting us.

We also remember when Russia invaded Ukraine recently, many false prophesies surfaced again, predicting that it was the beginning of the Third World War, and that the end of the world is near at hand. But nothing of such nature happened. This is exactly what Jesus is warning us about in today’s gospel reading, from the gospel of Saint Luke 21:5-10, when he said, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end."

Rather than worry about the end of the world, Jesus urges us to pay greater attention to how we live our lives here on earth now. He goes on to tell us about the hate we will face as his disciples; the trials, the suffering, and the persecution we will face as his followers. But he emphasizes the need to hope in him, because he will always be there with us and for us, and even give us the wisdom we need to defend ourselves, and the strength and eloquence to voice it out, in those difficult and challenging situations.

There is no glory or salvation without a cross, for the trials, suffering and persecution that comes our way deepens, strengthens and helps us manifest our faith in God. This is why Jesus encourages us not to be terrified, but to secure your lives by persevering in our faith in God. Since Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success, it is most needed by us in these difficult times and in the challenging situations we face in our world today. It is time for us to work harder in our spiritual lives despite the difficulty or delay we encounter in achieving the success we want.

Remember, it was through perseverance in their faith, that the early persecuted Christians endured all they went through, to bring us the gospel today. It was through perseverance, that the African slaves survived all the inhuman conditions they went through and flourished till today. It was through perseverance, that the Jews survived the holocaust. And it is still through perseverance, that our sisters and brothers who are being killed and persecuted, all over the world by Muslims, like in Nigeria, have stood firm in their faith and survived till date.

So my dear friends in Christ, let us not be terrified or scared when we face trials, suffering and persecution as Christians, rather let us persevere in our faith in God as Jesus said, so as to secure our lives in heaven.