There are still many places throughout the world where Christians must follow Our Lord’s admonition to flee persecution. Believers in some countries are ostracized by their family and friends for being Christians, and in others are subjected to violence, imprisonment, and death, even at the hands of their loved ones, for what they believe. Imagine a culture where the Good News is seen as bad. When there is no societal support, either in public or in private, we must be prudent, and also entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit in order to persevere.
Shrewdness and simplicity don’t seem to go together, but Our Lord expects us to show both. Christians are accused at times of being mindless sheep, but if we consider the impressive cultural contributions made by Christians throughout history this caricature simply does not stand. It is our simplicity that ensures we don’t turn our shrewdness into a lack of charity and concern for others; it keeps us from becoming jaded in the face of persecution and ridicule, as well as helping us to maintain a healthy dose of common sense that is so necessary when facing outlooks on life today that are more and more sophistical.
The Holy Spirit helps us maintain a balance between shrewdness and simplicity, even when our convictions are on trial. Let’s ask the Spirit to give us the words that proclaim the Gospel in good times as well as bad, and to watch over Christian refugees suffering throughout the world due to their faith.