Father Edward McIlmail, LC
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Jesus said to his Apostles: "Behold,
I am sending you like sheep in the midst
of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple
as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand
you over to courts and scourge you in their
synagogues, and you will be led before governors and
kings for my sake as a witness before them and
the pagans. When they hand you over, do not
worry about how you are to speak or what you
are to say. You will be given at that
moment 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 brother
to death, and the father his child; children will rise
up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to
another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish
the towns of Israel before the Son of Man
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the one constant in
my life. You are my beginning and my end.
I love you as my savior. I trust you as
my closest companion. I hope in you as the
one who will welcome me into eternal joy.
Grant me, Lord, a deeper union with you as the
only one who will never fail me.
1. Trust, But
Not Too Much: A key paradox of Jesus was
that he loved us so much that he underwent
the horrors of crucifixion to redeem us and give us
a chance at salvation. Yet, he also knows our
weaknesses. He knows how fickle the human heart can be.
"Jesus would not trust himself to them because
he knew them all, and did not need anyone
to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well"
(John 2:24-25). Likewise, Christ warns us not to put
too much faith in other people. Like us, everyone
else has weaknesses. Our faith in them should be relative
and realistic. It shouldn´t be on the same level
as our faith in Christ. Do I put "too
much" faith in others? Do I realize that expecting too
much from them leaves me open to needless anguish?
Betrayal for Siblings: Christ is the rock against
which the waves of humanity crash. His demands cut to
the heart of each of us, and require a
personal response. How each person responds is a mystery. Some
will say yes, some will say no. The division
within each person can echo in divisions within families.
Little wonder that kin can be our fiercest foes.
Christ´s own show of steadfastness assures us that he remains
more loyal than even family members. Can I accept
that following Christ can cause friction with my loved
ones? Can I offer up my trials for their salvation?
Love Without Sacrifice: Christ never promised his followers
an easy life. If he had, there would be no
shortage of disciples. He knows what really makes us
mature in love: sacrifice. Sacrifice purifies us, ennobles us.
Love without sacrifice is a fairy tale. To love means
to share in another´s pain. "When men and women
demand to be autonomous and totally self-sufficient," said Pope
Benedict XVI in a speech February 9, 2008, "they
run the risk of being closed in a self-reliance that
… reduces them to an oppressive solitude." Similarly, if
we close ourselves to God´s pleasure, we stay stuck
in our littleness. Can I accept suffering for Christ as
a way to break out of the cocoon of
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, it´s not
easy being your follower. Opposition can arise on all
sides, even from within the family. Help me bear all
this well, for love of you. Grant me the
serenity to persevere in the faith. I offer my sacrifices
for the salvation of those who oppose my following
Resolution: I will pray
or make a sacrifice for a family member who is
away from the faith.