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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. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

No disciple is above his teacher. It is easy to understand this saying and equally easy to misunderstand it. To have a more secure interpretation, we must take it in its context.

Jesus reflects on what has happened to him as a teacher. His enemies paint a bad picture of him. Instead of acknowledging him as coming from God, they attribute his miraculous powers to the devil in the company of Beelzebul.

They are out to demolish him.

The followers of Jesus will experience the same. They will suffer from rejection. They will be maligned. They should not be naïve: they, too, will be crucified.

Jesus tells the Apostles not to be afraid. God is with them. They are more important than their hair and the sparrows that God is always monitoring. They must continue proclaiming what they have learned from him in private. They bear an important message. They should not be afraid even of death. Eternal reward awaits them.

If we Christians stop proclaiming Jesus and deny him for our comfort, we too will be denied entrance into heaven.

We must always remember that we are not above our teacher.

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SOURCE: “365 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.