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Courage under persecution

Gospel Reading: Mt 10:24-33
Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!

“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. 33But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

In the face of the conflict that the disciples and other Christian missionaries can expect, Jesus provides some words of encouragement. First, the Holy Spirit will always be with them and will never abandon them. Therefore, they need not worry about what to say before hostile officials; the Spirit will provide the words (cf 10:19). Not only that, as the faithful bear witness on behalf of the Kingdom, Jesus himself will bear witness on their behalf to God (cf v 32).

Second, there is nothing that the world can do that is able to eradicate the Gospel or destroy God’s loving and watchful care over the faithful. The world can even kill those who serve the Gospel, but the murderers are not to be ultimately feared. They may have momentary power over bodily life, but they have no power over the soul. Only God has that. Only God is to be feared, and God, who counts the hairs on our heads and who does not fail to note even the falling of a single common sparrow, can be trusted to treasure those who serve the Kingdom (cf vv 28-31).

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of God rests upon you.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.