“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.
This is a difficult gospel. Our human nature often wants to seek the “path of least resistance” or to reach for instant gratification. However, in this gospel, Jesus tells the apostles that they will endure hatred, persecution, and rejection by society on account of their faith. This hardly seems to be “good news.”
There is no doubt that we live in a world of conflict and violence. Each time I look at my phone it seems that there is another news notification of a global or local tragedy. Having faith and seeking to build community in the midst of violence requires endurance. Today’s gospel teaches us not to wait until things are easy and safe to become the Church. Rather, we must be “Easter people in a Good Friday world.”
Today we pray for courage to have enduring faith and be symbols of God’s hope and peace to a world that is broken.
—Kathleen Cullen Ritter serves as Director of Campus Ministry at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee, WI. She attended Marquette University and served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Bend, OR.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
—Archbishop Oscar Romero