In today’s Gospel Our Lord counsels us to be “shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” Sharing is the Gospel must be done kindly, but intelligently. People are more receptive to something a kind and gentle person has to say, and in the context of the persecutions that he also describes today, public opinion will also be less inclined to condemn someone who leads a kind, simple, and humble life. If people see us as sheep, harmless, humble, and not complicated, it will be easier for them to see our adversaries for what they often are: wolves who are cunning and predatory.
However, being kind and gentle is not enough. If what we do and what we share lacks substance, if it doesn’t strike a chord in our listeners, we’ll be wasting our time and theirs as well. Christianity started with a few disciples called by Christ and conquered the world, not with a militarily, but armed with a love that was not just skin deep. We’ve received love from Our Lord, a love that is profounder and more lasting than any love we could experience in this world, and it’s from the profundity and stability of this love that we share the Gospel with kindness and a desire to share the gift, no matter what the cost. The Gospel message is a message of true and lasting love, and everyone is seeking that, whether they’re aware of it or not.
Even the first apostles like Paul knew they had to be strategic: he traveled to places in the Roman empire that were the crossroads for all the cultures found within its borders, and in sharing the Gospel there he knew those passing through would take it everywhere. He also had to face difficult pastoral situations with wisdom and love: in many of his letters the passion for his communities shine through and still provide guidance for us today. Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us be neither superficial or mean in sharing his Gospel, his love, with others.
Readings: Genesis 46:1–7, 28–30; Psalm 37:3–4, 18–19, 27–28, 39–40; Matthew 10:16–23.