July 8, 2016

Gospel MT 10:16-23

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”
Reflection:
“Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”

Jesus is telling us that we must be “shrewd” enough to recognize that, like a “wolf,” human nature can be calculating and even vicious. As Christians, we must resist reacting “in kind, ” and instead be like a dove, non-offensive and passive in the face of hostility. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
“But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

We are fortunate. As Christians, we do not have to figure it all out. In those instances when people are resistant, or even hostile to our message of God’s love, Jesus assures us that we will be given the words we need. When we don’t know what to say, our Father, through the Holy Spirit, will touch our hearts and the right words will come forth from our mouths.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”

Clearly, an individual’s strong belief in Christianity, or any religion, may result in their being separated from members of their family who believe in another faith. Even today in the Middle East and elsewhere, Christians are being “persecuted” and are “fleeing” from their towns and countries. But, whether at home or abroad, if we persevere in our beliefs, we most assuredly will “be saved.”
“If we rely on the Holy Spirit, we shall find that our prayers become more and more inarticulate; and when they are inarticulate, reverence grows deeper and deeper.”    – –  Oswald Chambers