Gospel Reflection Friday 14th Week of Ordinary Time (14 July) – Perseverance
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (10: 16-23) in which Jesus tells the disciples to be on their guard because ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as cunning as serpents and, yet, as innocent as doves’. Fr Paul says much of this central passage of Matthew’s Missionary Discourse must be read on three different levels. The first is that of Jesus speaking to his disciples about their mission; the second is that of the early Church interpreting they had experiences in the light of Jesus’ sayings; third and finally, that of the modern disciples of Jesus, like us, fulfilling the same missionary task amid the same difficulties and trials. Fr Paul says this, for Tertullian’s saying in the second century is true in every era of time, ‘The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church’. We know from the writings of Paul that his mission was fraught with physical, emotional and spiritual suffering in which he relied on the help and guidance of the Spirit. But it also applies to those who have witnessed to Christ in every age and the present day, for we as a Church has never been free of persecution. However, we must persevere – or as the Gospel tells us – we must stand firm, just as we have done over the past 2000 years and more. So, as our day evolves today, Fr Paul says we might reflect – with the help of the Spirit and despite any trial or persecution, how can I persevere in my faith and how can I persevere is spreading the message of Jesus?