In reading today’s Gospel (Matthew 10:16-23) I could get very easily discouraged. My Lord says I am to go like a sheep in with wolves; he says be both shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
I don’t want to go Lord, but I trust in you. I trust you ask this of me because it’s becoming darker these days; more people seemingly lost than ever before. I have to remember, this world is not my home. I can even feel it becoming more alien when I read comments or hear people talk. I can see why you aren’t mild in your words about what will occur as we go out among the wolves – in fact you tell us to be on guard – walking with caution and to be aware of men, men who will hurt, hate and hand us over to be persecuted. It’s so sad; I could almost fall into despair. Almost.
All this week in Scripture you have been talking about how to come closer, to lean in, listen and understand the message of a new kingdom to come. You’ve shown us how to heal, gather, work and proclaim your word. I am leaning in Lord, trying to follow you in the smallness of my life, my circle, the place where I live and with the people you put in my life. I am grateful you follow up these warnings with reassurance that there is no need to worry about what should be said; that your Spirit will speak the words I need to say. Yet that too, is a cause of concern – for I am lacking in hope and concerned for all who do not know you or have rejected you. I feel if I speak too much, I’ll be pushing them away; if I don’t speak up enough, they will be left behind. Help me to always pray for your words to come forward with an invitation directly from you, not me. Do not let me be afraid!
I’m planning a short trip with a couple friends. I was checking on various sites along the way and was very saddened at comments on some of the Christian locations. There are a lot of people who do not believe, who think the holy word of the Bible is all fake, and who believe if it’s not provable by scientific standards alone, then it’s not true. We think as man and cannot even begin to imagine the possibilities that can occur if you want something Lord. How small our brains have gotten, brains and hearts that tear down others because they challenge faith – they cannot believe in what they don’t see. Your disciple Thomas doubted and we saw how his faith saved him. Why can’t others believe too? We have become so shallow and self centered.
I said these continued controversies could almost put me in despair, but I won’t give in to that. No, it’s not about me, nor anything I can do with what others say or do. Lord I recognize this is your fight with Satan; it’s your battle. But you can be sure I will be armed for you my Lord – because I am strengthened by your Sacraments and choose your will. As you said in the Gospel today, your spirit will give me the words to speak, the actions to take. You, my Shepherd, will protect me as I walk among the wolves. I will seek to proclaim you elsewhere if you call me there; I know the world is big and many are lost. St. Ignatius has told me, be aware, understand and take action. It’s not if, but when and where I’ll be attacked.
You give me the courage Father, to not lie down but rise up on your power and might. With your guidance I seek to be prudent, persevering to the end, trusting in you – trusting you will show me how to handle whatever comes into my path. Enduring until the end for me is being yoked to you, for I am here only a mere blink of the eye. Eternity with you, your Son and the Holy Spirit is where I am aiming.
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