Three individuals came to mind as I read today’s gospel. The first is a married woman, distressed because her husband left the Catholic Church for an anti-Catholic sect which is pressuring her to join too.
The second is a recent high school graduate preparing for college. She’s concerned that her faith will be challenged on campus through peer pressure, ideas and philosophies she’ll encounter in class, and a culture sometimes hostile to her religion.
An elderly Chinese bishop is the third person. He was recently featured in National Geographic, and he recalled years of government persecution of the Catholic Church in his native land.
On account of their Catholicism, all three experience opposition- from family, society, governments, other religious groups. Just as Jesus said the twelve apostles would face. His words to them in today’s gospel are words which are just as true for us today, because we too encounter resistance to our faith.
In a nutshell, what Jesus says to us is: don’t be surprised when it happens; trust in the Spirit when it does; be shrewd but simple; and persevere throughout it all. If we do, chances are we’ll find our faith is stronger in the end. The Chinese bishop, who is witnessing a Church renewal in his country, knows this well. “The more the suppression,” he said, “the more the rebound.”
Readings for today's Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/070811.shtml