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.”( Matthew 10:16-23)
Today’s Scripture has a very different tone. Jesus continues his instructions to his disciples. However, he warns his disciples that as they proclaim his message, they need to be careful. They will be vulnerable, like sheep in the midst of wolves. Thus, they need to be alert and shrewd in their assessment of everyone they encounter.
His advice is good for us today as well, “be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” Some of us are too jaded, and some of us are too naive. Neither extreme is good. It is difficult to find the right balance between the two, but that is exactly what Jesus is calling us to do.
What is troubling about the gospel today is that Jesus spoke about family members turning against his disciples. Sometimes this happens in our family too. In the United States today, the culture is so divided and each side believes fervently that their position is right. It has become so divisive that even family members weigh that which they have to say for fear of alienating someone they love.
Actually, 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.
It’s difficult in today’s culture to stan firm and to live by only one standard – the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. But that is what Jesus called us to do.
It’s hard to turn away from dulcet tones and promises by politicians that they not only have the answer but that only they can show us the right path. When those words come from lives not lived in accord with Jesus Christ, that is exactly what we are called to do.
Following Jesus is not an easy path. Following Jesus means that every day we have to consciously choose to be and do what Jesus did. At times, this may bring consequences that we do not expect.
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! If we choose to live and act as Jesus did, we will receive abundant graces! Only we can choose!
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”.
Jesus needs us today more than any other time because today we see the world being slowly enveloped by the culture of secularization. What are we going to do about this tilting paradigm shift toward secularization? Are we just going to stand idly, do nothing and be indifferent to the mission of Jesus? Our indifference towards the mission of Jesus contributes to the degeneration of the value formation of this world. Many of us are even already afraid to take up the cudgels for Jesus, so we confine Jesus inside the walls of the church.