_"For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”(Matthew 11:3-4)_

_*Sometimes we experience persecution from the hands of people, not because we have done them any wrong or treated them badly, but simply because they are jealous or fearful of how we are making progress more than them.*_

_Sometimes this attitude of wickedness can degenerate to the point where you will wish to get rid of the person and make sure that he or she does not stand on your way anymore, thereby shedding an innocent blood._

_*This is what we see in the readings of today. In the first reading, Jeremiah who was chosen as a prophet to announce God's message to the people, became a target marked for destruction. What was his crime, he simply spoke the truth to the people and his message made them uncomfortable.*_

_When they threatened him with death, he was not afraid, instead, he stood his ground, prayed to God for help and remained resolute in his mission. He was ready to die for the sake of God and that is what a true believer must always do._

_*In the gospel reading we see a similar story of how the presence of Jesus made Herod uncomfortable because of the evil he had committed against John the Baptist. John was killed for the truth, but he never compromised. Jesus will also be killed for the truth and He has given us an example to follow at all times.*_

_We must never let what we suffer in the hands of others break us. People may treat us badly and wickedly, they may even kill us, but we must hold unto our faith, speak the truth at all times and be ready to die for it whether they accept us or not. It is a fact that not everyone will like us, but at all times we must never let what we go through make us to stop following God. We must hold unto Him firmly and profess His name without fear of persecution and death, because our reward will be great in heaven._

_*Keep doing good and keep shining as the light always and you will conquer those who try to break you apart. Never let the wickedness of men turn your heart away from God. You that treat others badly as a result of jealousy should also change your ways and become better. Kill the jealousy in you before it destroys you. Be ready to accept the truth and let it move your heart to turn around and seek the light above darkness.*_

_Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you do your work and do have a beautiful weekend. May God give you the grace not to give up when you suffer persecution. Amen. *And may the Almighty God bless you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.*_

*Meditation:* Jeremiah 26:11-16,24/Psalm 69:15-16, 30-31,33-34/Matthew 14:1-12

*Watch-Word:* Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of God.

*Never stop following God because of how people treat you. Remain steadfast and bear your persecution and you will have great reward in heaven.*

(Saturday of the seventeenth week in the ordinary time. Year II)

*© Rev. Fr. Augustine Eleke*