Daily Reflection – 7/12/19
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 people, 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.”(Matthew 10:16-23)
In today’s gospel, Jesus is about as candid as can be with his disciples. He tells them that this is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world’s way of offering a job. That’s not a messages that warm the heart. That’s not a message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us.
One thing that we should always keep in perspective is why we should follow in His footsteps. Jesus tells his disciples that that they must endure for His sake; but He also make an important point to tell them why they should go through all these things. He tells them that the ones who are willing to endure all these things until the end will be saved.
This is the same thing that we should remember whenever we are going through difficult times or passages in our life. We are doing this so that we can be saved from an eternity without God’s love.
We often are in situations calling us to speak for the glory of God, whether the circumstances demand that we confront evil with our words, express our compassion to those who suffer, or respond to others in any moment moving us to bear witness to the love and wisdom of God.
In actuality, most of the time when we speak up for what is right, or good, or moral, then we usually make other people upset with us. But this is exactly what Jesus called us to do. God said the same thing when He spoke through the prophet Hosea saying, ‘for in you the orphan finds compassion.” We are to care for the least among us, and speak up if they are being mistreated or not properly cared for.
Why should Jesus’ message of love arouse such hostility? The Christian message is counter-cultural. In asking folks to change their lives and lifestyles, there is an upsetting of vested interests and of the status quo. Folks get emotional when that happens.
Are there helps in handling this hostility? There is the promise given here of the Spirit’s assistance. There is the realization that Jesus went through all this and that Jesus asks no more of us than he was willing to do.
Can we expect hostility to our living out the Christian message? Hopefully, yes. If Christian values are to remain a counter-cultural challenge to secular, materialistic society, opposition is inevitable and ought to be joyfully welcomed. That is our calling as Christians.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will.
“Following Jesus” may sound romantic. However, if we truly live as Jesus lived, we may rock some boats and make enemies just as he did. However, we always have a choice. And every morning, we have to make a choice! What is the choice we will make today? If we choose to live and act as Jesus did, we will receive abundant graces! Only we can choose!