14th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 10th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 10,16-23
Jesus knows well what the world is like. He continues to forewarn his twelve disciples about the future realities of His mission. He honestly speaks of the different forms of persecution in carrying out His mission. They may be handed over, flogged, betrayed, hatred and killed. He doesn’t say, “if you are persecuted”; but he teaches us ‘when’ you are persecuted. Yet in those moments the disciples are offered encouragement. They need not depend on their own strength, but on the wisdom of the Spirit. They need not be afraid to confront persecutors, for the Spirit of God would speak in them and through them. It’s the first time the gospel of Matthew describes the indwelling of the Spirit in Jesus’ followers. Whereas in the gospel of John, there are several references to the Holy Spirit as advocate, helper, and comforter, who is promised to indwell in the disciples. This Spirit is received by staying tuned to the Father, who also gives them the gift of endurance that will bring them salvation. This promise was fulfilled in the early Church when the disciples were seized and persecuted: Stephen (Acts 6,8-10), Peter (Acts 4,1-22), and Paul (Acts 22,30-23,11). As long as the disciples stay focused on the Lord, they will be guided by the Spirit, who will not only comfort them with words and wisdom, but strengthen them to perform the tasks that lie ahead of them.