Today, Richard McMahon reads from the Gospel of Luke (12: 8-12) in which Jesus says ‘if anyone openly declares themselves for me in the presence of others, the Son of Man will declare himself for them in the presence of the angels’. Richards says, he finds this a very sobering reading because it speaks directly into an experience of persecution that the early Christians were facing. We know horrendous stories of them being crucified then set alight, torn to pieces for the entertainment of the crowds. It must have been such a fearful time. This scripture in a sense is putting these words into Jesus’s mouth about how one must stand firm when speaking about the faith; that we shouldn’t turn away but be willing to stand up even in the face of this hellish opposition. Today we reflect that in many parts of the world martyrdom still occurs with Christians standing up for their faith to the point of death. We pray for an end of that persecution as much as we admire people for standing firm in the midst of so much persecution. In Australia we are so fortunate to have a country where religion, we might say at times, is tolerated and at other times it is celebrated still. Richard believes this passage invites us to our own form of martyrdom – maybe not at the significant level of losing our lives, but maybe it is in losing face… maybe it is to be embarrassed or even risk, sometimes, being seen in a light that I don’t want to be seen in in. What is Richard talking about? He says it is when we open our mouth to talk about God – to talk about the fact that we went to Mass on the weekend or about what’s important to us? Can we share about life’s meaning? We know such conversations in Australia today can be perilous. Sometimes people can get their backs up pretty quick. Richard hopes that we continue to learn the art of good conversation with others; to have respectful dialogue where it might be a bit scary at times to step forward, to stand up for Jesus, to say he’s my friend; and that I connect with the Catholic Church. That is ok. It is a risk but the Gospel, today, invites us to take that risk – to step out in faith with the Holy Spirit. In closing, Richards asks us to consider ‘Where is our next opportunity to step out and share that with a friend, a family member, or perhaps, a stranger?’