Christ was crucified. Christ is risen! We can be confident that the Lord Jesus is close to those who suffer for His sake and who are killed because they are His disciples.
Saint Luke reminds us that the Lord watches over all His disciples.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.—Acts of the Apostles 9:1-5
Holy Gospel according to St. John 15:18-25
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me (Jesus) before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
Pakistani authorities launched a hunt on Monday for militants behind a suicide bomb that killed at least 65 people in an attack that targeted Christians and was claimed by a Taliban faction that once declared ties with Islamic State.Most of the victims of the bomb attack at a park in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday evening were women and children enjoying an Easter weekend outing."We must bring the killers of our innocent brothers, sisters and children to justice and will never allow these savage inhumans to over-run our life and liberty," military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a post on Twitter.Officials said at least 65 people were killed and about 300 wounded. The death toll was expected to rise.[...]A faction of the Pakistani Taliban called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack, and issued a direct challenge to the government."The target was Christians," said a faction spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said.[...]
—An excerpt from an "updated version of a Spectator cover story from October 2013." [ http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/03/the-war-on-christians/ ]
The Lahore attacks are just the latest atrocity in a war on Christians
Consider three points about the landscape of anti-Christian persecution today, as shocking as they are generally unknown. According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. Statistically speaking, that makes Christians by far the most persecuted religious body on the planet.
According to the Pew Forum, between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination, either de jure or de facto, in a staggering total of 139 nations, which is almost three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the centre calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons related to their faith.
—John L. Allen Jr is author of The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.