The Gospel and its ministers have always been opposed. Acts recounts: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” In the Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciples for difficult times ahead, such as Paul’s experience in today’s reading from Acts. Jesus says that the “ruler of the world is coming,” yet in the very next verse he reminds the disciples that “[the ruler of the world] has no power over me.” The hardships that Jesus predicts are real. Even today, Christians are persecuted for the faith in many parts of the world. However strong these persecutions are, the power of God is stronger. The power of God that allowed Paul to persevere in the face of persecution continues to bless those who suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

What grace do I need as I face today’s hardships?

—Matthew Dunch, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying theology in preparation for ordination, at Regis College in Toronto. He previously taught at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.