THURSDAY – DECEMBER 26, 2019 (St. Stephen, Martyr) PERSECUTIONS (MT 10:17-22)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, Strengthen me in moments of trial.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preparing His disciples for persecution.)

Context:
Jesus has just commissioned his apostles and sent them out to preach. He warns them of difficulties. Matthew’s Church also sent out missionaries who faced the same persecutions, both from Jews and Romans.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Beware of men. They will hand you over to courts, and they will scourge you in the synagogues. You will be led before governors and kings for my sake, so you can give testimony to them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not think about what you will say. The Spirit of your Father will speak within you.
Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child. You shall be hated by all because of my name, but whoever perseveres to the end, shall be saved. The disciple is not above his master. If they have called me Beelzebub, what will they call you?

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Because the disciples preach Jesus, many will oppose them.
2. Jesus tries to prepare them for what they will face.
3. Even this opposition has a purpose. The disciples will have an audience to whom they can preach.
4. The Spirit will give them the words that touch hearts.
5. They must rejoice. If they persecuted the Master, they will certainly persecute the disciples.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, prepare me for the opposition I will meet in my devout life.
2. Send me your Spirit so my opponents can be won over.
3. Teach me the costs of discipleship. I will pay any price.
4. When the opposition continues, let me stand firm.
5. What more could I ask for? You invite me to suffer persecution with you.
6. I will persevere and enjoy eternal glory.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will try to explain my conversion to all who question me.
2. I will ask the Spirit to guide my words.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The Spirit of your Father will speak within you.