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Green Leaf

July 12

FOCUS: God is always with us and for us.

Plant

Reflection

00:00 / 03:29

In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends out his disciples to spread the message of the Kingdom of God “like sheep in the midst of wolves…” immediately followed with the instruction to “be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” How are we to make sense of these images as how to act as His disciples?

How is a sheep a model for us on the path of discipleship, especially amid the “wolves” of this anti-Christian world? Jesus refers to the meek and gentle quality of sheep. Sheep do not attempt to defend themselves. Sheep are not aggressive. Sheep are humble. Sheep do not fight “fire with fire” so to speak. Sheep are calm and tame. Jesus is asking us to act with humility and self-control, trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions. However, the world will certainly be aggressive like wolves in trying to devour our lives with an ideology resembling survival of the fittest. Jesus does not promise us an easy path forward.

But Jesus is sure to give us two more images to help us navigate the world as His disciples. We are to be prepared, not dumb as some may consider the sheep. He first urges us to be wise as serpents (or snakes). Snakes are known in many cultures for their cunning and intelligence. We are to go into the world with our eyes wide open, knowing how things work and the opposition we will face. We are to act with wisdom, a gift from the Holy Spirit.

We should be wise, but not follow the wisdom of the world. We are to be innocent (simple) as doves. We are to maintain a pure lifestyle with clean consciences. That way if we are called in before the authorities we can stand up with confidence knowing that we have done nothing to be ashamed of. We could be punished for doing good such as evangelizing, but we should not be punished for doing something evil, which will dishonor Christ and His church.

Are we willing to step out and be disciples for Jesus? Jesus promises that he will be with us always, giving us the wisdom, words, strength, and endurance to persevere to the end. How many times did Jesus tell His disciples “Be not afraid”? When times get difficult, we can look to Jesus, who was willingly led to the slaughter of a brutal crucifixion, for the sake of giving us a path to eternal joy with the Father in heaven. Our life on earth is temporary; we can certainly endure the persecution of this world for the eternal reward to come.

Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Are you willing to accept hardship and suffering in serving the Lord Jesus Christ?

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