The world — in the sense of world against faith — is no friend of Jesus or Christianity. That world is the wolf that Jesus said, “I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Lk 10:3).
It is a tragedy that in the Middle East some members of the Moslem faith are brutalizing Christians. Yesterday I read that soldiers of ISIS captured a Catholic priest, tied him to a tree, shot him in the head and then crushed his head.
Sixty percent of all Christians live in countries where their civil freedom is curtailed. Sixteen percent of all Christians (224 million) live under severe state interference and harassment of their religion.
During the Easter season, we celebrate the joy of Christ risen from the dead. In Lent we meditated on the sufferings of Jesus in his Passion and death. Yet, right now, in the Sundays after Easter, at Mass we hear about the persecution of Christians described in Acts 8:1. “Saul laid waste the church, entering house after house, he dragged off men and women.”
Now that the media is reporting stories of persecution of Christians, we are all confronted with such tragedies on a daily notice. Our response is still fairly tame. To use biblical language, the wolf is after the helpless lambs. Yet we so far do not respond in a very public and clear way. Is it because our brothers and sisters are forced to be “a church of silence” and seems too far away from our everyday experience. More or less a news story, but it is arousing our Christian conscience.
At least we could pray for their freedom and safety. The Bible tells us that when the apostle Peter was in prison, the church “prayed fervently for Peter’s freedom” (Acts 12:5).
Doesn’t prayer work? The announcement of the death of Mother Angelica is pertinent. She created a TV program that proclaims the Gospel of Christ to the U.S. and to all of South America (in Spanish) and more. She always said it was the result of her prayer. She was told it was impossible for a nun of her background to do this. She studied television production and prayer as well as taking on challenges — but always with faith and prayer and her “Angels.” Stories about her will abound around her death, funeral and achievements.
I would like politicians, the military, the gods of finance to put faith and prayer into their leadership efforts. I think our free Christian churches need more passion in prayer and faith in proclaiming Jesus in all his blessings, teachings and examples for us Christians. I would like to see America and Europe return to their Christian foundation. Let’s banish the crazed gods of secularism which is ruining us. I am afraid that if we don’t, we will let the wolf take charge even here. God forbid.
Norbertine Fr. McBride is a popular lecturer and author of more than 40 books.