REFLECTION FOR TODAY
July 9, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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. Matt. 10: 19-29
When Jesus gave the warning and admonitions to the twelve as He sent them out, He spoke from experience. Knowing the inevitability of misunderstanding and persecution, He continually kept his heart set on the power of the Holy Spirit and His Father’s love and protection.
The disciples like Jesus were not to worry about what they would say when on trial for their testimony to Jesus because as Jesus said in our gospel reference today, “The Spirit of the Father will be speaking through them.
As Christians when we are condemned, judged, misunderstood and persecuted, it is very common to begin mounting our defense within our minds right away. We justify our actions, set up a tribunal in our minds by which we act as judge and jury of the other, finding them guilty and issuing them punishments. The sin traditionally referred to as “self-love” is a sin that stems from pride and is not love at all. It tempts us to defend ourselves, using our own human wisdom and counsel.
If we carefully consider Jesus’ admonition in our gospel reference today, we will realize that this is a very hard to embrace. Essentially, when you are condemned or mistreated by another, remain silent in your heart. Do not immediately dwell on the wound they have inflicted. Do not become obsessed with the apparent injustice. Do not worry or become filled with anxiety at the perceived persecution. Instead, turn your eyes to Jesus, consider only His Voice and His Truth.
Persecution may be inevitable but more certain is the power of the Spirit who lives in us through our baptism. He loves to strengthen us as we step out in faithful obedience. And even the greatest steps of obedience are dwarfed by God’s faithfulness to His promises.
Reflect, today, upon what the Spirit of the Father can do through you in moments of persecution. Consider how you react when someone condemns or judges you. How do you respond to such persecutions? Begin with silence, turn your eyes to the other out of love for them, and then listen and wait on the Lord. Wait until He gives you the words to say. Doing so is not only good for the persecutor, it is also exceptionally good for your own soul and holiness of life.
Lord, You, Who are the Savior of the World and the God of all, allowed Yourself to be falsely accused, judged and condemned. During it all, You remained silent and spoke only when the Father spoke through You. Help me to be freed of all pride, dear Lord, so that I will speak only Your holy words, think only the thoughts inspired by You and act only on Your holy command of love. Jesus, I trust in You.