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 comes."
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.
Petition: 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?
2. 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?
3. 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-Emeritus 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 my comfort?
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
Resolution: I will
pray or make a sacrifice for a family member who
is away from the faith.