First reading Hosea 14:2-10

A call to conversion and promise of safety

The Lord says this:
 
Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.
 
Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 50(51):3-4,8-9,12-14,17 

My mouth shall declare your praise.
 
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
  In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
  and cleanse me from my sin.
 
Indeed you love truth in the heart;
  then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean;
  O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.
 
A pure heart create for me, O God,
  put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
 
Give me again the joy of your help;
  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord, open my lips
  and my mouth shall declare your praise.
 
 

Gospel Matthew 10:16-23

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.
  ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’
 
 
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Entrusted with God’s mission

We are God’s missionaries who have been entrusted with the gift of sharing the joy of our faith. We need to be courageous and go out of our comfort zones to freely offer the gift of faith. Though the mission is not easy, we must never give up. Instead, we need to count more on Jesus and less on our own strengths and capabilities.
 
There will always be people, a family member or a friend, who will retaliate when we speak to them about Jesus because they do not understand or welcome our faith. Yet, Jesus continues to send us out like sheep among wolves. Yes, we are sheep who are constantly being guided and loved by the Good Shepherd. Thus, we do not need to be afraid. Jesus invites us to be shrewd as a serpent and discern how to deal with people and situations. He also calls us to be like a dove and learn to be peaceful, even in the face of rejection and opposition.
 
 
Question for reflection:
Is there anything that prevents me from being God’s missionary and sharing the gift of faith with others?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.