I often think of "persecution." So many of us today have no idea what that really means. To get a clue, we need only look to the Acts of the Apostles.
In today's first reading from Acts 13, we see Paul and Barnabas boldly proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles. The Jews were none too happy about their preaching, so they "stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory." It also says, "The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."
Those early disciples not only exhibited courage under persecution, but joy! This could only come from being filled with the Holy Spirit. The next time you're feeling persecuted, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with joy.
Father, fill us with the joy of the Holy Spirit, even amidst our small persecutions. Amen.