14th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Hos 14:2–10
Thus says Yahweh: Return to your God Yahweh, O Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to Yahweh with humble words. Say to him, “Oh you who show compassion to the fatherless forgive our debt, be appeased. Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us: no longer shall we look for horses nor ever again shall we say ‘Our gods’ to the work of our hands.” I will heal their wavering and love them with all my heart for my anger has turned from them.
I shall be like dew to Israel like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar. They will dwell in my shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine. What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I who hear and make him prosper?
I am like an evergreen cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from me. Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand? Straight are the ways of Yahweh: the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.
Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23
Jesus said to his disciples, “Look, I send you out like sheep among wolves. You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. Be on your guard with respect to people, for they will hand you over to their courts and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of me, and so you may witness to them and the pagans.
“But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say and how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it is not you who will speak; but it will be the Spirit of your Father in you.
“Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.
“When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. For sure, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
We associate intelligence with the ability to plan. We are impressed by planning, even when the objective is silly. Many things in life require planning, but it can become a compulsive habit. If I feel I have to plan everything, it means that I do not trust myself to react correctly in some future situation. But what makes me think I can do it better now before the situation has even arisen? How should I know what to say to some people when I have not even seen them yet? Compulsive planning ensures that I will always live in the past, that I will never fully meet a new situation. Intelligence isn’t an old hat; it is always new. We have to trust the intelligence that is in us; to distrust it is to undermine it.
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