Facing persecutions

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles July 13,2018
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Facing persecutions

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles July 13,2018
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July 13, 2018
Friday, 14th Week in
Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Gospel: Mt 10:16–23

Jesus said to his disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. Be on your guard with respect to people, for they will hand you over to their courts and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of me, and so you may witness to them and the pagans.“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say and how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it is not you who will speak; but it will be the Spirit of your Father in you.“Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.“When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. For sure, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Today’s Gospel instructs people how to deal with persecutions. The materials that Matthew brings into discourse are sourced from Chapter 13 of Mark, such as those that warn about persecutors coming from one’s own house. “Brother will hand over brother to death…” (Mark 13:12-13). Both Matthew and Mark assure us that “whoever stands firm to the end will be saved”.

Perseverance is a key virtue in times of persecution. One’s sincere effort to persevere is matched with God’s grace. Because God is already involved when we strive to persevere in the good that we do, the effort required of us may just be below our breaking point. “Heroism consists of hanging on a minute longer”, goes a Norwegian proverb.

Perseverance does not mean running headlong towards the eye of a storm. “When they persecute you in one town,” the Gospel says, “flee to the next…” In the context of today’s Gospel, this was in reference to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. which was viewed as the coming of Jesus to judge the unbelieving Israel. In our context today we can use these verses to guide us in adopting an active-non-violent stance. While we fight evil tooth and nail, we should not pull the devil by the tail. Let us not antagonize the evil fool lest he unleashes full power and do more harm to the people.

Perseverance is itself a gift from God. Who does not need it? When the Gospel warns us that persecutions can come from our own families, it means one thing: there is no escape from persecutions. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.

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