THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE CALL TO MISSION - 5
Today’s gospel: Matthew 10:16-23
The challenge for mission is not so much that we lack resources,
because God will provide, but that we will encounter great
opposition and persecution as we confront the enemy. We are
weak human beings assaulting the dominion of a powerful spiritual
being. That is “like sheep in the midst of wolves”
(Mt 10:16a). We are helpless sheep among ravenous and deadly
wolves. We will be bruised, we will be bloodied, we might
even lose our lives.
what are we to do? “So be shrewd as serpents and simple
as doves.” (Mt 10:16b). Now is that not an oxymoron?
We know the serpent to be the evil one, and indeed, in successfully
tempting Eve, was described in Genesis as the most cunning
of all the animals God created. On the other hand, we look
on the dove as the Holy Spirit. Can we be wise as serpents
but innocent as doves? Jesus says so, so yes.
devil used his wisdom in tempting Eve in Eden and Jesus in
the desert. But wisdom is of God. It is a gift of the Holy
Spirit. Unfortunately we oftentimes go off into the fray with
our own human wisdom and not the wisdom of God. To do God’s
work, we must put on God’s mind. For example, human
wisdom says do not do mission because you do not have the
money, while Jesus says go, and do not even take provisions
for the journey. So the wisdom we use must be of God, and
not of the world. Thus we must be simple as doves, childlike
as children, innocent as babes. We must be pure of heart,
even as we are wise of mind.
Jesus tells the apostles of the trials to come.
“they will hand you over to courts” (Mt 10:17b).
Committed Christians are now being arrested and taken
to court for praying at abortion clinics, for speaking
against homosexuality (hate speech), for refusing to offer
B&B to gay couples, for homeschooling, for not referring
people to abortion providers, for refusing to proscribe
will “scourge you in their synagogues” (Mt
10:17c). Christians who proclaim the gospel in certain
nations are beaten, arrested, imprisoned, and even killed.
will be hated by all because of my name” (Mt 10:22a).
The liberal western world hates committed Christians as
they stand in the way of their anti-life, anti-family,
homosexualist agenda. Western nations and gay activists
particularly hate the Catholic Church, as it is the only
strong institution standing up against them.
In fact, the divide between the diabolical forces of the enemy
and those who stand for God and Church are so wide that splits
and animosity will happen even among relatives. “Brother
will hand over brother to death, and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to
death.” (Mt 10:21). Liberals and progressives are against
those who are traditional and orthodox. Spouses have taken
opposing sides, as also with parents and children, long-time
friends, neighbors, co-workers, even Catholics among themselves.
Liberals have not quite gone to the extent of putting their
opponents to death, but we will get there.
do we survive? Through perseverance, patience, persistence,
endurance, long-suffering, tolerance, forgiveness. Indeed,
“whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt
10:22b). Given the intensity of persecution, however, how
can we endure? On our own strength we cannot. But God who
sends us also provides the strength and wisdom we need. When
we are handed over to secular authorities to be prosecuted,
we “do not worry about how (we) are to speak or what
(we) are to say. You will be given at that moment what you
are to say.” (Mt 10:19). In other words, in the most
difficult trial, God will be there for us. God will provide
whatever we need. God will not abandon us.
fact, God is always able to overturn the devil’s diabolical
wisdom. The enemy causes us to “be led before governors
and kings for (Jesus’) sake” (Mt 10:18a). But
that provides us with a platform to be “a witness before
them and the pagans.” (Mt 10:18b). Who knows? God can
touch ignorant minds and hard hearts with the gospel we stand
for. We have been sent by Jesus, who wants salvation for all.
So we do not worry, but we rather rejoice in the opportunity
occasioned by persecution. After all, we are but God’s
instruments. So we know that God will use us, specially in
the direst of circumstances. “For it will not be you
who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
persecution we cling more to God, are more mindful of our
total dependence on Him, and need to grow in faith and trust
in His divine providence and care, aside from being purified.
Yes, persecution will bring its own rewards.