Thursday, July 07, 2005



JULY 8, 2005

GENESIS 46:1-7, 28-30
Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba,
he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There, God,
speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, "Jacob! Jacob!" He
answered, "Here I am." Then he said: "I am God, the God of your
father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make
you a great nation. Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will
also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes." So
Jacob departed from Beer-sheba, and the sons of Israel put their
father and their wives and children on the wagons that Pharaoh had
sent for his transport. They took with them their livestock and the
possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Thus Jacob and
all his descendants migrated to Egypt. His sons and his grandsons,
his daughters and his granddaughters- all his descendants-he took
with him to Egypt. Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that he
might meet him in Goshen. On his arrival in the region of Goshen,
Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and rode to meet his father
Israel in Goshen. As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his
neck and wept a long time in his arms. And Israel said to Joseph, "At
last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still

MATTHEW 10:16-23
Jesus said to his Apostles: "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in
the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men, 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. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father
his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to
death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever
endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one
town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the
towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes."

The words of Jesus in today's gospel are words of warning accompanied
by words of promise. He tells his apostles that they are being sent
out "as sheep among wolves" and therefore they (we) must be "cunning
as serpents and yet as harmless as doves."

Jesus then goes on to describe coming persecutions when his disciples
will suffer, but he also promises that the Holy Spirit will be there
to provide whatever is needed for the apostles' ministry.

Most Christians find it easy to understand being like sheep among
wolves or being as harmless as doves. This is often interpreted to
mean that we should be meek and humble like sheep or doves. What we
often overlook is that Jesus also asks us to be as "cunning as
serpents." What could this mean? Are we to imitate the serpent in
Genesis who enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit?

Maybe not, but there is still a place for being "cunning" in a
Christian's life, and perhaps it has to do with discerning the needs
of every time and place. We are asked not only to be meek and humble
followers or servants (sheep and doves), but also to be cunning-to
understand the ways of the world and to do what is necessary to
proclaim the Gospel, even if it involves suffering and persecution.

St. Benedict was a "cunning" saint. Living in the early sixth
century, he noticed the moral decay in society and even in the
existing monasteries, so he started reforming monasteries and
eventually wrote the famous Rule of St. Benedict. This later became
the norm for Western monasticism. Rather than promote excessive self-
denial among monks, Benedict envisioned a community that balanced
work and prayer (ora et labora) and sought to be a school of holiness
rather than a group of individuals competing for holiness. He
stressed interior conversion rather than external manifestations of

In the middle ages, the monasteries became models of an alternative
world ruled by the spirit of Christ. Where extreme social hierarchy
ruled, the monasteries presented an ideal of social equality. When
manual labor was derided, they affirmed the spiritual value of work.
When culture and education was disintegrating, they maintained
pockets of learning and civilization. Where violence ruled, they
preached and lived in peace. The Benedictine monasteries challenged
the prevailing values in the world, and we are called to do the same
in our world.

We must be cunning as serpents and harmless as doves.

"Lord, help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships,
adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you.
Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back
from doing your will".

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the personal intentions of JP.
- for the personal intentions of Lydia and family.
- for the personal intentions of Joey Devela.
- for the personal intentions of Cresencia.
- for the well-being of Nina.
- for good health and special intentions of Elsa and Paolo.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Matthew Justin M. Tan
- Birthday: Ming Co
- Birthday: Yiu-Wah Tsoi
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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