Jesus promises to supernaturally strengthen the Apostles when they are persecuted. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he can courageously fight against the persecution of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church and by seeking the Virtue of Truth so he can persevere in proclaiming Christ’s Truth to others.
14th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Mt 10:16-23
After commanding the Apostles to go and prepare for their mission to evangelize surrounding towns, Jesus continues His Missionary Sermon to the Apostles (Mt 10), warning them of the persecution and division that comes with preaching the Gospel and instructs them how to respond to persecution.
Jesus tells the Apostles to understand and accept the sober reality that sacrifice and martyrdom come to those who proclaim the Gospel. He makes it clear, the Apostles will be viciously hated, attacked like sheep by wolves, and accurately describes the specific types of persecution, including persecution using secular (legal) and religious (synagogues) structures, persecution by Gentiles and Jews and even betrayal by one’s own family.
Great King, Jesus fortifies the Apostles with promises of how He will make them victorious in the battle to establish His Kingdom. Rather than meekly submit to all persecution, Apostles are to defend themselves by prudently using their wits, being as shrewd as serpents, while maintaining pure and holy intentions, being as simple as doves. The Apostles are to rely on the Holy Spirit to actively speak when they are put on trial by the enemies of Jesus. He instructs them to make tactical retreats, avoiding attacks by moving to new territory to evangelize. Jesus warns the Apostles, to “endure to the end” through their coming persecution, and promises salvation to those who do.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, Divine King, prepares His Apostles for their sacrificial mission: Jesus, the perfection of Justice, fully discloses the Truth (a part of Justice) to His men about their coming persecution (betrayal by men and even family, hatred, physical torture, religious and legal attacks); the perfection of Prudence, Jesus advises His men to prudently assess situations, shrewdly make choices and to act with thoughtful caution; ponder the Divine Presence and Personality of Jesus which compels every one of the Apostles, except Judas, to take up His call to sacrifice: all except John will be brutally martyred; John will experience severe persecution.
Build fortitude to fight persecution of Christ’s Catholic Church
Realize: Under the influence of Satan, today’s post-Christian society in the West and communist countries continue to relentlessly attack Catholics through unjust laws which violate conscience and by pervasive prejudice against men of who profess the fullness of Christ’s teachings of His Holy Catholic Church. Elsewhere, radical Islamists are systematically slaughtering, expelling, or suppressing Catholics from ancient Catholic lands.
Believe: Reflect upon Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303).
Pray: Jesus, Conquerer of Satan, help me build the Virtue of Fortitude so I can courageously and heroically fight against the growing persecution of Your Holy Catholic Church and help build Your Kingdom in the face of these evils.
Persevere in proclaiming Christ’s Truth to others
Realize: Some Catholic men attempt to practice the faith in private, keeping their Catholicism to themselves, or failing to speak the truth of Jesus because they are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, sued, or physically attacked; just as Jesus openly professed the faith, every Catholic man is called to live out his faith in public for this is one of the critical ways for non-believers to first experience the faith.
Believe: Reflect upon the Necessity of Faith and Perseverance (CCC 161, 1816, 1821).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I know Your Truth, have the courage to persistently proclaim Your Truth publicly and privately, at all times and places, and persevere to the end, so that I might be saved, and those who hear Your Truth might be saved.