“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Jesus continues to prepare His apostles for their mission to preach the gospel (Mt 10:16-23).  He tells them that they can anticipate unjust treatment, arrest, and torture.  They are to preach to pagans by words given them by the Holy Spirit.  They will see much death as a result of spreading the truth and will be despised because of it (see above) but also saved because of it (again, above).  When persecution comes their way they are to head off to the next town.  Jesus promises to return before their task is even finished.  Maybe there have been times when we have been looked down on, ostracized, criticized, or otherwise taken to task for expressing our Christian beliefs in word or action.  If we are used to being affirmed in our faith convictions, this can be quite a shock. But we should take comfort in these words from the Beatitudes, which Jesus essentially reiterates (above): “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Mt 5:11).  Maybe easier said than done, but let us take Jesus’ apostles themselves, who clearly lived Christ’s teaching, as examples for us: “After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.  So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:40-41).  Learn the Word, love the Word, live the Word, spread the Word.  Do all of this, invoking the Holy Spirit for guidance, strength, and His gifts (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord).

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