The Gospel Today
Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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 (Sem. Mark Ian V. Abu)
Today’s Gospel talks about the coming persecutions to those who choose to follow the Lord. Jesus warned His apostles to be very vigilant and prepared for there will be people who will hand them to the courts and judges to scourge and make them suffer. He added that even their own family: their parents and brothers and sisters will hate and put them to death. All these things would happen because they are followers of Jesus; because they choose to live a life like that of their Master and opted to be witnesses to the truth. Reading this Gospel passage made me preoccupied with many anxieties that I feel are very important to consider.
This is my initial reaction when I face uncertain realities in life. I tend to rationalize everything and sometimes even becoming over-reactive to things that are still to come and things that have not even happened to me yet. I desire and wish that my life will always be smooth-sailing and without any problem so that I will not be anxious of anything. I tend to direct myself on the conflict and not on the remedies which God sends to me; these may be particular events or things I have or even people who are here with me already. All I need are open eyes and heart in order to recognize the providential hands and merciful heart of God.
In reading the Gospel today I realized that I failed to focus on the things that God will provide whenever I will be in situations like persecutions and sufferings. I just diverted my attention from the problems that might occur once I have decided to follow the Lord in this kind of life. I almost ignored the promises of Christ whenever painful and challenging moments in my life come. He will be sending the Holy Spirit to speak for me. Can you imagine how great a privilege it would be to be the spokesperson of the Spirit of God?
Jesus himself endured all the pains and suffering and eventually died on the cross for our salvation. We, as servants of Christ, are being reminded that as He chose to embrace the cross we are invited to do the same in our little ways of witnessing to our faith in our everyday living.