“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
In today’s first reading, we saw how Jacob (now Israel) finally moved to Egypt along with his entire household and everything he possessed. Even though Joseph sent some chariots from Egypt to fetch him, Jacob waited to hear from God before accepting to move.
We learn from Israel the need for prayer before taking any major decision in life. Prayer is not one-way traffic, it is always a dialogue. If you listen, you will hear God.
Meanwhile, in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus makes His disciple understand that building God’s kingdom of God is never an easy task. Preaching light to a world that prefers darkness, a world that rejected Jesus, can be likened to sheep moving in the midst of wolves.
There has never being a time that Christians were loved by the world as Jesus noted: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
Now the question is: “how are Christians to survive in a world that hates them so much?” Jesus recommends two things: One, to be wise like a snake, and Two, to be innocent as a dove. This is one of Jesus’ classical parables. And there could be more than one interpretation of the snake-dove analogy.
First, Jesus recommends wisdom which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word of God, in several passages tells us that wisdom begins with the fear of God. (Psalm 11:10, Proverbs 1:7,9:10,15:33, Sirach 1:12,16,18&27, 19:20, 21:11). A Christian who does not fear God (who has no regard for God’s commandments) only acts foolishly.
Secondly, the fact that a lot of people hate you for simply being a Christian does not mean you should permit hatred in your own heart. Jesus wants us to be innocent; that is, pure in our hearts. Rather than pray for the death of our enemies, we must pray instead for their conversion, redemption, and salvation.
As much as Jesus wants us to spread the Gospel, He recommends that we act wisely always. Do not wait for them to come and kill you, should they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes. (Matthew 10:23)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me courage, wisdom and the grace to live a holy and innocent life. Amen
Bible Study: Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30, Psalm 37 and Matthew 10:16-23).