In the twenty-first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus preaches about the end times and the persecution that will precede His Second Coming. After explaining events that will signal that the end is near, and the tribulation that will take place, Jesus assures His disciples that He will be with them to provide the grace and wisdom they need to persevere. We read in Scripture:
“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. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:12-19)
The promise to send the Holy Spirit, fulfilled at Pentecost, was and is God’s chosen way of being with His church, and in the heart of every believer. Each Christian, throughout the centuries to the present day, has undergone some version of being “handed over” to the suffering that comes to all who are baptized into Christ. Our “defense” against the adversity that comes our way will be given by God Himself. St. Paul explains how God provides everything we need to live out the Paschal Mystery daily, as we die to what hinders our spiritual growth, and rise to newness of life in Christ. We read in Scripture:
“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)
Our share in the prophetic role of Christ, given in baptism, enables us to speak the truth about God’s eternal plan of salvation to others with a conviction that is given by the Holy Spirit, along with the wisdom to speak the Gospel message to the world.