Shrewd & Simple

Friday of Week 14 in Ordinary Time

Hosea continues to speak to Israel God’s invitation to repentance and forgiveness. Yesterday he spoke of the tenderness of God. Today he offers renewal and restoration. God will prosper those who truly trust and depend on him above all human alliances and the security of possessions. And the prophet concludes with a lesson for the present age. “Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.” Like Israel of old, we are sinful. We have been unfaithful. We are called to repentance. And God will forgive that we might be renewed once again in that covenant relationship. The story of Israel is the story of the church and our story. We need to learn from history and the wisdom of experience.

Jesus sends his Apostles out to teach and heal and feed and raise to new life. Yesterday he spoke of those occasions when bearers of the Gospel will not be welcome. Today he speaks about occasions when they will be persecuted and put to death. “I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” It is a message intended primarily for the early church since Matthew’s Gospel was completed long after Pentecost at a time of great trial and persecution. Jesus is telling us to be smart. The Gospel cannot be proclaimed by dead people. Know when to slither away like serpents or fly away like doves. Live another day and keep proclaiming the Gospel. Even in occasions when the danger is from within, as when family members will hand each other over and have them put to death, be smart. “When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.” He is telling us to not taunt the hungry lion. Be faithful but be smart. And violence is not an appropriate response of one who proclaims Good News. Ever.

We offered this mass for the repose of +Thelbert Shields, Jr.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020

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