Luke 21: Crises are for Parrhesia

Holy Father at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, Sept. 23
Holy Father at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, Sept. 23

Christ has given us more spiritual benefits than we can reckon. One of them, certainly, is: That He has spoken calmly and reasonably with us about the end of our lives and the end of the world.

He foresaw that the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, and it was. He foresaw that there will be wars and insurrections, nation against nation—there have been, and there continue to be. He foresaw that there will be earthquakes, famines, plagues, frightening portents in the sky—there have been, and there will continue to be.

But He insists: Remain calm through all of this. None of these events will prove ultimately decisive for you. “Not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” Crises will arrive, but they come for a reason. So that you may testify.

When Pope Francis came to visit us here in the US, he used a Greek word: parrhesia. He had used it before, and he will likely use it again. The word appears in the New Testament quite a few times (41 times, if you include verbs and adverbial phrases).

Parrhesia means bold speech declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostles faced crises, wars, persecutions, certain death. They gave their testimony: God is greater. Jesus Christ has conquered.

More on this tomorrow.

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