Saturday, July 20, 2019
Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. Matthew 12:14
If you really sit and think about this, it’s shocking, sad and even scandalous. Here, the religious leaders of the time were actively, intentionally and calculatedly plotting to kill the Savior of the world. The very One whom they were supposed to be preparing for and hoping for became their object of malice, hatred and ultimate persecution.
It is shocking and, therefore, we should have a deep sorrow at their actions. But sorrow at their actions does not mean we need to fall into an irrational anger, despair or a mindset of revenge. Sorrow at the malicious actions of the Pharisees is actually a form of love toward them in that a deep sorrow at their actions is a way of calling them to repent.
Sure, this happened many years ago and the actual Pharisees who acted in this calculated and malicious way are no longer with us. Nonetheless, Jesus continues to be persecuted in numerous ways, and sometimes this persecution is even found among those who claim the name Christian and even those who act in leadership within our Church and world.
Practically speaking, we all may be able to identify in some way with the plotting and planning of Jesus’ persecution. It would be highly unlikely that we experience this malice to the extent that Jesus did, but all of us have most likely experienced it to one extent or another.
Sadly, when we radically commit ourselves to Christ and His mission, we often become a target of the evil one. And very often, we experience the arrows of the evil one from those who should be our greatest supporters. Therefore, if this is your experience in some way, do not be scandalized or overly shaken. It’s appropriate to be saddened by it, but don’t give in to irrationality as a result. Persecution is a part of following Christ. It happened to Jesus and we should, therefore, expect it to happen to us.
Reflect, today, upon how you deal with the hurt and malice of others. You are not the one who is given the right to judge or condemn them. But you are called to experience the same sorrow that Jesus did. This sorrow is a holy sorrow which is spoken of in the Beatitudes. It’s a sorrow which will enable you to reject the errors you encounter and grow in patience and endurance.
Lord, when I feel ridiculed or persecuted by others, help me to stand strong in my faith and, especially, in my charity. Help me to allow a holy sorrow to strengthen me to have hope and to move forward in the mission You have given me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Apollinaris