Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23
Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard with 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, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.
But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.
Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their 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. I tell you the truth, you will not have passed through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“Clever as snakes and innocent as doves.”
Jesus instructs the disciples on how to deal with the attendant danger and persecution of their mission. The disciples must be as cunning as the snake and gentle as the dove. Jesus is aware of the difficulty and danger that come with the mission of proclaiming the Reign of God. He foresees them and would of- fer the disciples some help to conquer their fear. Jesus sees the combination of cunningness (or shrewdness) of the snake and gentleness of the dove as vital to carry out the mission.
It is wise to develop these qualities of cunningness and gentleness. The modern world has not become a better place to live. Violence, abuse and exploitation of fellow humans and the natural world remain. Humans have simply become more sophisticated in doing them. There is a need to be clever in identifying causes of abuse and of social and economic injustices. There is a need to be critically smart in identifying things that corrupt morally, things that dis- tract us from what really matters and from what really is essential.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019