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11.07.2020 — Transformed to be like Jesus

Posted under Reflections on July 10th, 2020 by

14th Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 11th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 10,24-33

Transformed to be like Jesus

Matthew continues the theme of disciples imitating their master. Jesus says, “No disciple is above his teacher.” They are not, nor will they ever be, as great as master-teacher. However, he does make a qualification: the disciple is to be like Jesus, the master and teacher. He reminds them that their identity is inextricably united with his. In our relationship with the master-teacher we begin to see who we are – sinful, worthless creatures, disciples and servants – and who the Lord is – perfect, creator, teacher and master. Jesus is the master-teacher on whom the servants-students are called to model their lives. But first Jesus offers a warning: whatever fate awaits the master-teacher also awaits their disciples and slaves. If Israel’s elites call Jesus “the prince of demons” (9,34; 12,24), the disciples should be ready for a similar response. Yet, the importance of the disciple is far superior to that of the birds of the air, for we are loved and cared for by God. Everything that happens in this universe is under the loving gaze of God. Nothing in our life is meaningless, because the Lord knows and loves us individually – he knows the number of hairs on our heads and he promises that we are “worth more than many sparrows.” The disciples’ importance comes not from what they say and do, but from the one whom they imitate and who is sending them into his mission. The disciples are called to transform themselves like Jesus. We will be transformed when we go about doing good, accepting rejection and suffering, sharing love and blessing as Jesus did despite obstacles.

10.07.2020 — Forewarned persecutions

Posted under Reflections on July 9th, 2020 by

14th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 10th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 10,16-23

Forewarned persecutions

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.

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