Readings for Friday July 9, 2010
First Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
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." (Mt 10:16-23)
"Sending out like sheep in the midst of wolves" ... being handed "over to courts and scourged in the synagogues" ... "led before governors and kings" ... "brother handing over brother, father his child, children rising up against parents" ... "being hated." Do these descriptions of the role of a disciple sound very enticing, or do they make you want to run? To be honest, these descriptions make most of us want to run. I mean, who really wants to be beaten, put to trial and hated? Not many of us do, but we must realize that this choice to follow Christ is not an easy one, and it is certainly not a life filled with ease, but rather a difficult journey.
One thing that we should always keep in perspective is why we should follow Christ. In today's gospel, Jesus is upfront with His disciples and tells them all that they must endure for His sake; but He also make an important point to tell them why they should go through all these things. He tells them that the ones who are willing to endure all these things until the end will be saved. This is the same thing that we should remember whenever we are going through difficult things, we are enduring this so that we can spend eternity in heaven. We are doing this so that we can be saved from an eternity in hell, or better put an eternity without God's love. I think that when we keep this in mind, it puts things in perspective for us and makes things seem more doable; not that it makes it easier, just more doable.
Christ was and always will be up front with us, He does not sugar coat things or tell us one thing only to give us another. We will all be okay if we are willing to keep this one thing in mind: living a life for and with Christ is never easy, but it is worth it.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you and thank you for our lives, help us to continue to persevere in this life for you. Lord, we give you glory for all that we are and all that we have. Help us to stay straight on the path that you have laid before us, help us to endure until the end. Lord, we pray for an end to abortion, and that all youth might come to value life and realize their special dignity. We also pray for all the poor souls in purgatory. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.