Daily Reflection for Friday, July 09, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners!
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Genesis 46:1-7,28-30
Responsorial: Psalm 37:3-4,18-19,27-28,39-40
Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
In today’s gospel passage, Jesus is instructing his disciples on what they should expect when they are sent out to preach the Gospel in his name. He tells them how they should be prepared for resistance and persecution and that they should rely on the Holy Spirit to give them the words they will need to respond to the challenges they will experience. I imagine Jesus almost like a coach, sending his team out to play a match where they are underdogs but in essence telling them, “I’ve prepared you for this. You are ready.”
The last verse of the reading did give me pause. What is Jesus talking about here? We know that the apostles and the early Christians believed that they would see Jesus return for the final judgment in their lifetimes. They had no conception that the faith they continued to live and preach after his ascension would be passed down through centuries and millennia.
So this sentence is curious – he’s telling them that their work of bringing the gospel to all the towns in their land would not be finished before he returns. The apostles might have seen that as reinforcement of their understanding that Jesus would be returning soon. But now as we look upon this message two thousand years later, perhaps he was saying something more. Perhaps he was using Israel as a metaphor for the world because he knew that his disciples, generations and generations of them, would still be working to spread the Gospel to all peoples.
So our work is never done. As disciples of Jesus we are called, as St Francis said, to preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words. Only God knows how and when this human history will end, but it is likely that we will not get to “declare victory” and see our faith in Jesus and the gospel shared with all people in our lifetimes. Yet we can work where God has placed us to do our part in spreading the Gospel.
And so we pray, Lord Jesus, help us to be your true and courageous disciples and share the joy of the Gospel with all you place in our path.
Blessings to all,