S208P4 – A new family: prepare for betrayal

Mk. 13:11‭-‬13

But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

It was a fictional dystopian society, but it was not too far from history and probably not too far from what lies ahead.  The control of that government permeated every aspect of life.  The story began with two brothers who banded together against that force to lead a secret army of dissidents in a coup attempt. They had fled oppression to arrive at that place, and now they were being oppressed again.  We obviously found ourselves rooting for these brothers, but then our hearts were broken.  As the pressure mounted and victory seemed in their sights, the younger brother arrived at the older brother’s hiding place, but he was not alone.  He had sold out his own flesh and blood for a few dollars, an office, and a worthless title. 

We expect that certain people in our lives always will be dependable.  We use sayings like “blood is thicker than water”, and those sayings mean something to us.  We believe that those closest to us will make us a priority and try to protect us.  Unfortunately, history has shown, and many of our lives have shown, that this great bond can be broken all too easily.  Greed, ego, fear, and anger can be powerful motivators for betrayal.  The same way blood relatives will betray one another when our persecution becomes a reality, our spiritual relatives will face the same temptation, and some will fall to it.  This is what we are told to expect, and we must be prepared. 

Our focus here must be singular.  We cannot control how others will respond when the temptation to betray the brethren presents itself.  We can teach each other and review passages like this for preparation, but the only response anyone can control is their own.  Our response must be our focus, and we need to get ready for two things.  First, we must make sure that we will not cave and be among the betrayers.  Second, we must be prepared to be betrayed, stand our ground, and still love and forgive the betrayers.  When we are betrayed like the Lord, we must be able to respond like the Lord.  Father, keep us faithful to the Church and faithful to You when persecution comes knocking on our doors.