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Going Deeper – Gospel Reflections

Readings for Friday 7/10/2020

Reading 1 HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”—
because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (17b) My mouth will declare your praise.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.

Alleluia JN 16:13A; 14:26D

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you to all truth
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 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.”

O Mary,

you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.
You, Help of Christians and Mother of Perpetual Help,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Amen.

Prepare for Persecution

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.” Matthew 10:16-18

Imagine yourself being a follower of Jesus at the time He was preaching.  Imagine that there is much excitement about Him and great hopes that He will be the new King and is the Messiah.  There would be much hope and excitement about what is to come.

But then, out of the blue, Jesus gives this sermon.  He says that His followers will be persecuted and scourged and that this persecution will continue over and over.  This must have made His followers stop and seriously question Jesus and wonder if it was worth following Him.

The persecution of Christians has been alive and well throughout the ages.  It has happened in every time and in every culture.  It continues to be alive today.  So what do we do with that?  How do we respond?

Many Christians can fall into the trap of thinking that Christianity is all about simply “getting along.”  It’s easy to believe that if we are loving and kind then everyone will also love us.  But that’s not what Jesus said.

Jesus made it clear that persecution is going to be a part of the Church and that we should not be surprised when this happens to us.  We should not be surprised when those within our culture step on us and act maliciously.  When this happens it is easy for us to lose faith and to lose heart.  We can get discouraged and feel like turning our faith into a hidden life we live.  It’s hard to live our faith openly knowing that the culture and world does not like that and won’t accept it.

The examples are all around us.  All we have to do is read the secular news to be made aware of a growing hostility toward the Christian faith.  For that reason, we need to heed Jesus’ words today more than ever.  We need to be aware of His warning and have hope in His promise that He will be with us and will give us the words to say when we need it.  More than anything, this passage calls us to hope and confidence in our loving God.

Reflect, today, on how ready and willing you are to face the hostility of the world.  You should not react with similar hostility, rather, you must strive to have courage and strength to endure any and every persecution with the help, strength and wisdom of Christ.

Lord, give me strength, courage and wisdom as I live my faith in a world hostile to You.  May I respond with love and mercy in the face of harshness and misunderstanding.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Source of content: mycatholic.life

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