Faith Daily | 8 July 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 558
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you,
that, loving you above all things,
we may obtain your promises
which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 10: 16-23
16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Peter Brady
This passage is often interpreted as a warning that being a Christian does not guarantee one an easy life, indeed far from it. It is typical of Jesus that he gives the warning freely and honestly, with no attempt to sugar coat reality. Yet despite this, the disciples accept the commission.
Now while their track records indicate the disciples are not the sharpest crayons in the pack, it seems unlikely they would have misunderstood - or ignored - Jesus' warning. So why did they still go? Well as Peter insightfully (and thus uncharacteristically) observes in John's Gospel , 'to whom shall we go? Your words give eternal life'. Faith and belief drive them. But so does hope. For while this passage is often viewed as a dark foreboding of things to come, it is also full of hope and the promise of support. The mission of sheep to wolves is a hopeful one, after all sheep, while feeble, by far outnumber the wolves who are so fierce. Then there is the prediction that the disciples will face religious and civic opposition, and even be brought before the highest authorities in the land(s). Jesus knows that these apparently unremarkable people, and their message, will attract the attention of the most powerful. Moreover, Jesus promises that they will not have to do this on their own, they will have the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
And so the message we, like the disciples, can take out of this passage is that while things may not be easy we should not worry, Jesus promises us his full support if we accept his invitation to trust him fully. We need only to accept his instructions on how to live. As Psalm 34 says, 'the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.'
Strengthen us in the faith that we belong to you. Protect us on all the paths we follow during our time on earth. For we are yours, Lord our God, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.