JULY 10. Ord Time B. Wk.14. Sat. Mt. 10. 24-33
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?
‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
At the heart of today’s reading is the truth that Jesus Christ is both a man like us, and the Son of God! What follows from this truth is that, as Christians, and disciples, we should not expect to fare better, or do better in our earthly life, than Jesus did.
This might seem an obvious truth to state, but do not many Christians, either secretly or openly, wish to lead a “better”; - “more comfortable” or “successful” life than the one lived by our teacher? While professing to be a follower of Christ, do we not also want to have all our wishes and desires satisfied?
And how many of us really “desire” to endure significant sufferings in reparation for our sins, and the sins of the world? And how many of us generously “embrace” our sufferings as Christ did; - in order to bear witness to our Faith and our Love; - of both God and Neighbour?
If Jesus was seen as a friend of the Devil by the community leaders of his time (see July 6 reading); - why is it we want to be seen as someone who is admired and respected by those around us? Christ was rejected by so many of those he tried to teach and help; - but we want to be admired and respected; - while still being seen as one of his friends and followers?
Like Christ, his true followers will be rejected by their community because of their values and beliefs, but we are being told today “Do not be afraid of them; - they may be able to kill the body (as they did to Christ!) but they cannot kill the soul; - fear him rather who can put both the body and soul in Hell!”
What Christ is pointing out to us today is, rather than focusing on what we want in this earthly life; - our focus should be as his was; - on the Will of God and the state of our soul when our time on earth comes to an end. Christ wanted nothing this world has to offer, focusing instead on his relationship with the Father, both now and in eternity!
Our concern on earth should be to imitate Christ; - “If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven!”
Gospel Acclamation 1P4:14
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.