10th July 2021
Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary
First Reading: Gen: 49:29-33, 50:15-26 Res: 105:1-2.3-4.6-7
Gospel: Mt 10: 24-33.
THE DEMANDS AND COURAGE OF DISCIPLESHIP
Dear Christians, today Jesus lays down some very specific warnings and instructions to us as His followers. The message is plain: If we expect to share in His glory, we should also expect to inherit His sufferings. He also offers words of consolation whereby we should take courage in the midst of the suffering. Why? Our Father in heaven knows and cares! Jesus said, “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Matt 10:26). The reason is that God sees all! Just as He sees each sparrow and knows when it falls to the ground (Matt 10:29-31), so He sees each diligent Christian, serving his Master and knowing that the Lord looks out for His own: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His”. (2 Chr 16:9).
Sometimes the persecution may be extreme, even to death, but Jesus seems to be saying, "Don't be afraid! The worst they can do is kill you!" (Matt 10:28a). While a painful and violent death seems pretty bad, we’re reminded that there is something worse than physical death: the destruction of "both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28b). Even when faced with the prospect of death for his union with Jesus and testimony of the gospel, the diligent disciple knows that his earthly demise only hastens the rewards promised by the Savior. Easy? Of course not, but the Lord has promised that there will no test, trial, or temptation that His follower cannot overcome If he leans on Him for support. (1 Cor 10:13).
Another thing a Christian should know is, Relationships will be ripped, but life will be found! The Lord spoke of a sword of division that would penetrate the intimate relationships. We have witnessed betrayal in the families thus the prophecy of Jesus is witnessed. Yet, even as we suffer the heartbreak of changed relationships, Jesus reminds that there is a relationship, an association that transcends even those that are nearest and dearest to us on earth: Knowing the Savior. The Lord said that when we confess Him (own Him, identify with Him), He in turn "owns" us before the Father (Matt 10:32) and in being confessed before Him, we have life; real, lasting life. “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt 10:39). In all of this, the demands of discipleship are high.
We need the courage that is provided by God for those who have faith. Jesus asks us to “lose” our lives for His sake, but He also offers us the strength and succor we need to see this difficult life through. Let us pray that we may meet the demands and courage of being authentic Disciples of Christ.