firm to the end will be saved”.
Perseverance is a key virtue in times of persecution. One’s sincere effort to persevere is matched with God’s grace. Because God is already involved when we strive to persevere in the good that we do, the effort required of us may just be below our breaking point. “Heroism consists of hanging on a minute longer”, goes a Norwegian proverb.
Perseverance does not mean running headlong towards the eye of a storm. “When they persecute you in one town,” the Gospel says, “flee to the next...” In the context of today’s Gospel, this was in reference to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. which was viewed as the coming of Jesus to judge the unbelieving Israel. In our context today we can use these verses to guide us in adopting an active-non-violent stance. While we fight evil tooth and nail, we should not pull the devil by the tail. Let us not antagonize the evil fool lest he unleashes full power and do more harm to the people.
Perseverance is itself a gift from God. Who does not need it? When the Gospel warns us that persecutions can come from our own families, it means one thing: there is no escape from persecutions.