Paul says that Jesus is the "image of the invisible God." How do we make him known to those who say they can't see him? Hint: We don't cease to proclaim him as the Lord of life and of all creation. He is the answer to the longing of every human heart and the proclamation of our redemption.
Based on Luke 21:16-19 and Roman 8:28
You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
Do you have unshakeable hope in the time of tribulation or trial? This is what our Gospel reading encourages. It's expended on by Romans 8:28
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.
The eternal dimension of what Paul means by "good" connects the two together.
2 Maccabees gives us an account of courageous martyrdom. Would you be able to die so well? That might sound like an unfair question, because you might think, "How could I know?" But if you live well now, then you will die well. No doubt, the martyrs in 2 Maccabees lived in such a way that heaven was more real to them than the world they were giving up. They already had life from above. If you and I can cultivate this kind of relationship with God now, then we will be able to die well when the time unexpectedly comes.
From 2 Maccabees 7:
After him the third suffered their cruel sport.
He put out his tongue at once when told to do so,
and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words:
"It was from Heaven that I received these;
for the sake of his laws I disdain them;
from him I hope to receive them again."
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.
Paired with Romans 8
We pray for the souls of the faithful departed even as we consider the fate of our own souls. The Dream of Gerontius by Saint John Henry Newman provides a way to understand our purification as we move, by God's grace, towards our own final purification.
The Pantheon was dedicated to 'all gods,' which the Venerable Bede rightly called demons. Yet this building was transformed into a church for venerating all martyrs. May we likewise be transformed by God's grace.
You've heard the physical law: what goes up must come down. But there's also a spiritual law: what goes down must come up. Our Epistle (2 Tim 3:14-4:2) tells us about what comes down, which is God's Word, and our Gospel reading (Luke 18:1-8) encourages us to send it back up. Isaiah 55 sets the background for this important dynamic in redemptive history as God accomplishes his work through our prayers.