Fr Paul says that in today’s Gospel (Matthew 10: 16-23) Jesus instructed the Twelve to go out like sheep amongst wolves, be as cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.
Fr Paul reminds us that in this week’s Gospel there are themes of the kingdom of heaven, the theme of sheep, the theme of missionary journeys going out, the theme of healing, the theme of Israel, the twelve disciples, all of these are part of our time and reflection this week. This missionary discourse of Jesus, it needs to be read on three levels. The first level is simply Jesus speaking to his disciples about their mission.
Fr Paul explains that it can also be read on a second level, which is the levels of the early church interpreting their own experiences in the light of Jesus’ sayings. Then there is also the third level that we read this missionary discourse and that is us, the modern disciples of Jesus fulfilling the same mission amid today’s difficulties and trials. There are three ways in which this discourse is to be read. We know that the carrying out of the mission of Jesus can be taxing on us, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Hence the need for the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a sad fact that the church has never ever been free from persecution in some way shape or form.
In the message of the Gospel today, Fr Paul asks us to reflect on the need to preserve in the mission of Jesus in the way that perseverance was asked of the disciples the early church and now each of us.