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Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 10:16-25.

I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves.

The World’s Hatred and Coming Persecutions – Matthew 10:16-25

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

But beware of people, 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.

No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.

It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!

Parousia

Of the second of the discourses of the gospel, Matthew 10:1-15 deals with the mission and commissioning of the twelve apostles by Jesus. Now the perspective broadens and includes the missionary activity of the church between the time of the resurrection and the Second Coming of Christ, or the second advent, and sometimes called the parousia.

In Christianity and Islam, parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ to Earth. This belief is based on prophecies found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies. Christians generally believe the anticipated event is predicted in biblical messianic prophecies.

The persecutions attendant upon the post-resurrection mission now begin to be spoken of.

  • But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues (Matthew 10:17)

Here, Matthew brings into the discourse sayings found in Mark 13 which deals with events preceding parousia.

Views about the nature of Jesus’ Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and sometimes among individual Christians within these denominations. Most English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use include the following beliefs about Jesus:

“…He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.. … and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.” (from the New Roman Missal Translation of Nicene Creed)

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is a summary of faith expressed by the First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) and revised with additions by the First Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.). It summarises the orthodox faith of the Christian Church and is used in the liturgy of most Christian Churches. It has been an essential element of the Liturgy since the Sixth Century.

The new translation of The Nicene Creed for the New Roman Missal used by the Roman Catholics is a new translation of the original Latin, more accurate than the ecumenical version that has been in use since the late 1960s. The new texts for the Order of Mass were approved by the Holy See in July 2008.

This new translation contains a few new words. One of those words is “consubstantial” which professes that Jesus and the Father are of one substance, One God. Another new word in the Creed is “incarnate”; this too reveals that Jesus the Son of God was given a human body through the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also, this creed uses the singular pronoun “I” instead of “We”. This change is a call to make the professing of the faith personal.

New Missal Translation of the Nicene Creed

I believe in one God
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only-begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through Him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
He came down from heaven.

(at the following words, up to and including “and became man”, all bow)

and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
He suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets;
And in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The followimg verse

  • Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. (Matthew 10:21)

resembles

  • For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ (Matthew 10:35-36)

which seems to be quoted from

  • For the son belittles his father, the daughter rises up against her mother, The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and your enemies are members of your household. (Micah 7:6)

The original meaning of the phrase “to the end ” in

  • You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

was probably “until the parousia.” But it is not likely that Matthew expected no missionary disciples to suffer death before then, since he envisages the martyrdom of other Christians (Matthew 10:21). For him, the end is probably that of the individual’s life.

  • And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. (Matthew 10:28)

Jesus tells his disciples,

  • 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. (Matthew 10:23)

Since the coming of the Son of Man at the end of the age had not taken place when this gospel was written, much less during the mission of the Twelve during Jesus’ ministry, Matthew cannot have meant the coming to refer to the parousia. It is difficult to know what he understood it to be: perhaps the “proleptic parousia” of Matthew 28:16–20

The Commissioning of the Disciples – Matthew 28:16–20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.

When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

or the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, viewed as a coming of Jesus in judgment on unbelieving Israel.

To the following spiteful accusation

  • But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” (Matthew 9:34)

and Jesus counters with the following in

  • It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! (Matthew 10:25)
  • No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)
  • Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger* greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:16)
  • Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:20)

This foreshadows the growing opposition to Jesus in Matthew 11; 12.

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