Monday, December 26, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 10:17-22

Feast of St Stephen - Matthew 10:17-22

The Gospel for this feast of St. Stephen radically differs from the Gospel we heard yesterday. This Gospel opens with Jesus telling his disciples: “Beware.” What a contrast to the readings we heard on Christmas Day. Today Jesus is warning His disciples that if they continue to follow Him, they will be handed over to governors and kings. They also will be hated. However, if they remain faithful to Jesus to the end, they will be saved!

Imagine Jesus saying this to you.  How do you think you would react? I suspect that I might quietly slip away from Jesus. The price for being His disciple is much higher than I expected it to be. It all can seem so glorious when we first decide to follow Jesus. He is so charismatic and inspiring. When Jesus speaks, His message comes straight from His heart!

Today however, Jesus is warning us that there will be a price to pay if we follow Him. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: What price am I willing to pay? Do I believe in Jesus and His message so completely that I will risk losing everything I have worked for? Or perhaps even risk losing my life?

The path of following Jesus is both gift and cross. There are abundant gifts and blessings we receive when we walk with Jesus. However, there also will be challenges or difficulties that we will encounter---simply because we do follow Jesus. What am I willing to risk? What are you willing to endure for Jesus’ sake?

Jesus will give us the grace and strength we need! The question is: will we follow Him? May we pray for each other that we will have the love, courage and strength we need to follow Jesus, especially when life is challenging!

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