“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s gospel invites asks a lot in terms of our relationships with one another. Jesus invites understanding, forgiveness, and witness to our Christian faith, even in the face of persecution. CNN, online websites and print news stories remind us of this sometimes prickly challenge on a daily basis. To boost our confidence Jesus suggests that, when the chips are down, “you will be given what you are to say.” The Holy Spirit, alive in my mind and heart and voice, will help me find my voice. Further, as Pope Francis frequently suggests, my best words are those of mercy and forgiveness. In most any crisis, merciful words will soften hearts, forgiveness can challenge a firmly fixed position, and a hope-filled approach may invite conversation from a fresh perspective.
The challenge of course is how to proceed in the heat of the moment, when the rubber meets the road. How will I respond in the moment? What words of forgiveness and deeds of mercy will flow out of my heart? Right now I speak to Jesus about this . . .
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
We are all sinners, but God heals us with an abundance of grace, mercy, and tenderness….
Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, and forgiven.