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Be Calm, Be Decisive

SHAKE OFF THE DUST
July 9, 2020
Proclaim on the Housetops
July 11, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Be Calm, Be Decisive
 
As disciples of Jesus, we are not simply invited to preach the Kingdom of God, but we are challenged to be bold and audacious in doing it, to give our best! We are asked to be more confident, decisive, and brave like a sheep being sent in the midst of wolves. The metaphor of a sheep being sent to the wolves allows us to understand the boldness of Jesus in the mids of the Pharisees and scribes, as well as His great determination to face His crucifixion to save humanity.
 
In reality, the gospel today is telling us what to expect as disciples of Jesus. It is not a walk in the park. It is not a piece of cake. All sorts of dangers lie ahead including the threat against our lives, beliefs, and relationship. And yet, the Lord will never allow us to leave our comfort zones without any divine intervention to sustain our desire to preach the good news of Jesus. If there’s calling, doubts will come in, but divine assurances will also be there. Thus, we have no reason to say no and run away. God will be with us to assure us of victory and fulfillment in fulfilling His mission.
 
Consider the following three dangerous realities or three threats that may come to us as apostles of Jesus:
 
1. The Threat of the Evil Spirit. (Testing our Souls)
 
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).
 
The evil spirit is our main enemy. He will try his best to distract us from doing our job as disciples. He knows our potentials and capabilities to make a difference in the lives of others. Thus, he will try to deceive us by telling lies and false contempt. He knows our limitations and weakness. He will try to capitalize on them and devour our spirits.
 
Thus Jesus wants us to be like a serpent and dove. Like the serpent who is wise, we need to constantly pray for the gift of discernment – to be able to detect the deceits of the evil spirit and to know the difference between what is good and evil, and what is good and best. We need to become like a dove who is gentle and kind. We need to pray every day for the gift of gentleness, humility, and calmness. In this world where everyone is aggressive and violent, the grace of humility and calmness means a lot.
 
2. The Threat of Unbelievers and Lukewarm People (Testing our Beliefs and Values)
 
“Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” (Matthew 10:17-18)
 
Expect opposition from those who don’t believe in our cause. Not exactly from people who don’t believe in God, but from people who do not like us, or does not adhere to the advocacy we are fighting for. They will try to discourage us, question our work, or even our motivations. They will doubt our capacity and criticize our work. They will laugh at us and ridicule us in front of our friends.
 
But the Lord assures us of his divine assistance by sending His Spirit to help us. All we need to do is trust His power. The Lord said …
 
“When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)
 
Just do what we are supposed to do. Preach the gospel with faith and confidence. The assurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit is enough to be bold in front of our critics, enemies, and lukewarm people. We may not have the gift of preaching, but our good works will speak in favor of us. Our fruitful lives will serve as our glaring proof that we have chosen the right path.
 
3. The Threat to Destroy our Relationship (Testing Our Commitment)
 
The evil will not rest. If we are good at resisting temptations and knowing the deceits of evil, if we are good at defending our values and beliefs in front of our critics and enemies, the evil spirit will try to destroy our most important treasure … our relationship with our loved ones.
 
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10: 21-22)
 
Have you realized that many of us are in conflict with our loved ones, members of our families, and friends? Most of our pains are caused by our loved ones. We were betrayed, hurt, and humiliated by people who are dear to us. Sometimes, they are the ones doubting and questioning our decisions. Sometimes we don’t get their support. In the process, we are discouraged and felt alone.
 
But the gospel today is simply inviting us to sustain our faith, be faithful to God’s calling and persevere in the midst of disappointment and pain. We pray for the gift of commitment, not to waver or lose our fire to continue our cause in spite of a lack of support from our loved ones.
 
REFLECTION.
 
1. Any threats in your spiritual life now? What struck you most in our gospel today? Do you feel like giving up or running away from the call? If the Lord will talk to you now, what do you think He will say?
 
2. In the midst of this pandemic, we are bombarded by many threats in our daily life. What keeps you going? Where do you get your strength? Do you see that fake news is out to instill fear and lies in our midst?
 
Stay put. Stand and be firm. Be faithful to your prayer. Never give up on your persecution and trials. Don’t give up. Losers will never win. As the gospel says. “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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July 10, 2020 – Friday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:16-23

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