Friday, July 8 ~ Fourteenth Week in the Season of Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 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.”
Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says his disciples must be sheep in the midst of wolves? The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace (Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25). This certainly refers to the second coming of Christ when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus after he has put down his enemies and established the reign of God over the heavens and the earth. In the meantime, the disciples must expect opposition and persecution from those who oppose the gospel. Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? It is truly a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the Master, who laid down his life for each us. Are you willing to accept hardship and suffering in following after the Lord?
Prayer: O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin you bestow eternal gladness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: We are a “can do” people and there are many times on many occasions where we respond to life’s challenges based simply on our past experiences. Sometimes this may be good and wise, other times we may be setting up ourselves for disappointment or worse. As life in this world becomes increasingly complex, and perhaps on occasions where you feel that you are being persecuted by others for doing the “right thing” according to the laws of God and the teachings of Christ and his Church., never feel alone because you are not – God is with you. And if you feel that you are ill-prepared to defend yourself or ill-equipped to speak as well as you desire, make the sign of the cross and say this brief prayer: “Holy Spirit, let Your words be mine.” Then pause for a moment, perhaps pray this brief prayer again, then conclude with an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary.” When you pray “Holy Spirit, let Your words be mine” you are saying that you wish to let the Holy Spirit work in and through you, to let the words of the Holy Spirit be yours to say at the tight time and in the right sequence in order for the most positive outcome according to God’s will. When you pray this pray you are saying that I want the words of the Holy Spirit to be used, not mine, and that I want to become a conduit of the Holy Spirit to work in and through me: “For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20).
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.