The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 10:16-23.

After commanding the Apostles to go and prepare for their mission to evangelize surrounding towns, Christ continues His Missionary Sermon to the Apostles (Matt 10), warning them of the persecution and division that comes with preaching the Gospel and instructs them how to respond to persecution.

Christ tells the Apostles to understand and accept the sober reality that martyrdom and sacrifice come to those who proclaim the Gospel. He makes it clear the Apostles will be viciously hated (sheep among wolves) and accurately describes the types of persecution, including persecution using secular (legal) and religious (synagogues) structures, persecution by Gentiles and Jews and even betrayal by one’s own family.

Great King, Christ steels the Apostles with promises of how He will make them victorious in the battle to establish His Kingdom. Rather than meekly submit to all persecution, Apostles are to defend themselves by prudently using their wits (shrewd as serpents) while maintaining pure and holy intentions (simple as doves). The Apostles are to rely on the Holy Spirit to actively speak when they are on trial. He instructs them to make tactical retreats, avoiding attacks by moving to new territory to evangelize.  Christ warns the Apostles to “endure to the end” through persecutions and promises salvation to those who do.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Prophet, Christ accurately foresees the persecution of the Apostles.  Divine King, Christ calls the Apostles to heroic self-sacrifice and, with omniscience, gives precise instructions as to the tactics they are to use.  Person of the Trinity, Christ promises the Holy Spirit will be given to the Apostles to guide their words.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Divine Prophet, Jesus Christ accurately predicts the persecution the Apostles will face for preaching the Gospel (see Book of Acts); every Apostle is martyred except John (who is persecuted and exiled). Reflect on Christ’s ability to accurately describe future events that not only occurred in the 1st Century but are occurring today.

2) Today’s post-Christian society in the West continues to relentlessly attack Catholics through unjust laws which violate conscience and by pervasive prejudice against men of faith. Elsewhere, radical Islam is systematically slaughtering or expelling Catholics from ancient Catholic lands. Reflect on Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303) and pray for Christ’s intervention to help you protect and expand His Kingdom in the face of these evils.

3) Many Catholic men attempt to practice the faith in private, keeping their Catholicism to themselves or cowardly failing to speak Christ’s truth because of persecution (being criticized, ostracized, sued or physically attacked). Reflect on the Necessity of Faith and Perseverance (CCC 161, 1816, 1821) and pray for Christ to fill you with the faith and courage to proclaim His Kingdom and to “endure to the end”, so that you might be saved.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries