The Good News verses the fake news – Friday, 14th Week in ordinary time – Mt 10:16-23
We are in the second of the five discourses of Matthew and I am making an artificial separation in chapter ten for the sake of study. We are in the second of the three part missionary discourse. The first part was the commission to mission, now we are in the consequence of a mission and tomorrow we will look at the courage to mission.
My dear friend, the late Fr Larry Pereira, always said that Christianity is not for ‘namby-pambies’. The words have more than just a nice ring to it for it conveys a truth. It is dangerous when we propagate personal devotions to Christ over the tougher message of the Gospel.
Let me give you an example and please don’t get me wrong, I have no disrespect for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or any other devotion. I grew up with this devotion and still have devotion but this devotion has always been portrayed as ‘sweet’, ‘merciful’ and for ‘namby-pambies’. I have yet to hear, on the feast day, a homily that challenges us to follow the Lord’s heart of justice, suffering in mission or one that confronts evil. Somehow the devotion has always been presented as ‘sweet’.
If we are truly to follow the heart and mind of Jesus then the road is narrow and less trodden. The Gospel of today is a fine example of what a Christian is called to. Perhaps in some parts of the world or country, we don’t experience what is described in today’s Gospel; the flogging, hatred, being put to death and the terror of having to flee your home. But that means one of the two things; either we don’t live in that part of the world where this happens or we don’t go out in mission in our part of the ‘safe’ world.
The apostles did not even need a choice. They were burning with passion for the Lord. Not only had they been given great authority they were also given the consequences of that authority and none of those consequences were ‘pretty’.
Think about it, would you exchange even for a moment, the power to raise someone from the dead (verse 10: 7) in exchange for the possibility of being flogged and put to death ( 10: 17 and 21). I guess each one would respond to this quite differently but it certainly does not sound like an appealing bargain.