Mt 10: 17-30
Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 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.
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. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!” These are not reassuring words from Jesus in today’s Gospel.
So how do we enter the kingdom of God? In my theology studies, I was surprised to learn that the Catholic Church does not endorse one particular model of salvation. (The Church often seems to have the one answer for everything!) Sure, we know and profess that Jesus came for our salvation, but the Church also acknowledges the mystery of how exactly that is worked out.
But one thing the Church has clearly taught throughout the ages is that we do not save ourselves. It is not by our merits that we are saved, but through God’s initiative. “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
Thank goodness for that! After all, we are all sinners. “No one is good but God alone.” Whether we are wealthy or poor; wise or foolish; daily communicants or cafeteria Catholics … shame on us if we grow overly content with ourselves, or, heaven forbid, self-righteous.
Instead, let us remain humble. Let us strive to continue to grow in faith and virtue. Let us approach one another and God not as self-assured saviors, but as humble disciples of our one and only savior, Jesus Christ.
—Fr. Brian Strassburger, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He was ordained this summer and is helping to meet pastoral needs in the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Prayer for Humility
Let me have too deep a sense of humor to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.
—Daniel A. Lord, SJ