The Holy Gospel according to 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.”
Reflection: In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just commissioned the twelve apostles and continues his instructions to them. He warns them that they need to be careful as they proclaim his message. 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. Jesus also warns them that they may be arrested, scourged and taken before governors and kings for “his sake.” In these situations, they are to be strong and witness to him. He then consoles them. He tells them that they are not to worry about what to say in response to the authorities. Jesus promises that they will be given the words to say. No matter what happens to them, the Spirit will be with them and speak through them! By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, we are also commissioned to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Often we face opposition when we try to live a Christian life. Some may challenge us while we stand for our beliefs. Some of these challenges will come from people we know who no longer practice their faith. But God said worry not about what to do or to say. Instead, be wise for He will be our words and actions. Our endurance will bring us to salvation. How often do we seek God’s wisdom, help and trust that He will take care of our words and actions when we face these challenges? Today is also the Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. She was the first Native American to be canonized. Hearing about Christ from Jesuit missionaries, she chose to be a Christian. At age 19, Kateri Tekakwitha converted to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity. She witnessed to the Gospel by being faithful to prayer and charity in hostile territory and opposition by her family. Her name, Kateri, is the Mohawk form of Catherine, which she took from St. Catherine of Siena. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Action for the day: How may of us have family members, maybe even our own children, who no longer practice their faith nor go to church? These may be the ones that we are called to share our faith and witness too. We may also be met with opposition when trying to do this. Pray to God for the grace and wisdom that He will give us the right words to say.