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Courage under Persecution
Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me courage to be your disciple so others may come to know, love, and follow you.
- Remember Who You Are: In today’s Gospel Jesus continues to encourage his disciples to take courage against the inevitable persecution. He reminds us that we are students of the great Master. In other words, we don’t have to have all the answers or be the savior of the world. We walk as disciples, learning with each step how to be the disciple God calls us to be. This should be consoling to us when we are faced with animosity, questions, and even personal doubt about our own beliefs and doctrines of the faith. Disciples are also on a journey of discovering the beauty of all that Jesus has revealed and continues to unpack through the years. We are faced with new practical realities in which we must read the signs of the times through a Gospel lens. But as we walk, we mustn’t forget who we are: disciples of Christ, not disciples of this world.
- The Desire to Be Acknowledged by the Father: As we remember who we are, it helps to meditate on our most fundamental identity. We are children of a heavenly Father. What child does not long to be acknowledged by the Father? In prayer we can discover this desire in the depth of our hearts. It is a primordial longing for the one who created us out of love. The desire to be received by the outstretched arm of a loving Father is itself a prayer that nourishes our essential identity as Christians. It keeps us firmly under the Father’s loving gaze as we discern our daily choices as disciples of Christ.
- Listen, Child: As we recall who we are for God, we discover the great dignity and calling we possess. God does not keep us as ignorant children, but invites us to mature into his collaborators. Jesus uses splendid imagery for our days. He encourages us to listen despite the darkness and the noise that encompasses us. He motivates us to not fear, for he knows exactly the trials we face as his children and disciples. The enemy is not only “the world” outside us, but the temptations within; hence the need to listen to the competing voices within and without. Where the Lord is, despite darkness, there is light. If we remain firm in our identity as his children and disciples, his light gives us direction, as well as shining through us.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the marvelous ways in which you remind me who I am for you, a beloved child of a good and provident Father. Open my spiritual ears and eyes to hear and see you. Grant me a spirit of courage in the midst of chaos and darkness, be it within my own spirit or in my environment.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an act of faith and courage as I remember who I am for you and who you are for me.
For Further Reflection: What Defines You? Father Mike Schmitz.
Written by Jennifer Ristine.