Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The timing of the testimony

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Mt 10,16-20

The phrase “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves” means that the christian must live as a defenseless person in a society set up by ferocious wolves which attack from all sides. The only protections which are allowed are the “prudence” of the snakes and the “simplicity” of the doves, but these will not be sufficient to prevent from being carried out to defend ourselves before the authorities and before who does not believe in Jesus Christ and in the gospel values. All of this will happen, to the purpose of the christian bearing the testimony of his faith. The believer should not seek the persecution and even the martyrdom, but when these have to be faced, serenity and courage are necessary, to the purpose of having these as moments of testimony, as it has happened to the first disciples: ” When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, ‘ We gave you strict orders (did we not?) to stop teaching in that name [Jesus]’….. But Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree’ “ (Acts 5,27-30). It happened also to Paul in Rome, who was called upon to render account of his missionary activity: “I count myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am to defend myself before you today against all the charges made against me by the Jews [of Rome] .…. I beg you to listen patiently.…. I myself once thought that I had to do many things against the name of Jesus the Nazorean, and I did so in Jerusalem…..On one such occasion I was travelling to Damascus ….., O king,  I saw a light from the sky .….We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ’Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I said, ‘’Who are you,sir?‘ And the Lord replied, ’I am Jesus whom you are persecuting’ “ (Acts 26,2-15). Also the grandparents and the uncles of Alice, our armenian friend, had to testify their allegiance to the christianity. When the Turks invaded their country, they have refused, to be saved, to deny their faith by becoming muslims and they have paid their choice, first with the imprisonment and then with the life. Alice jealously preserves their small Bible, on which she placed a silver cross.

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