Today’s Gospel reading continues a series of passages in which Our Lord experiences conflict with the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders of the time. For a variety of reasons, they had a hard time accepting the message and identity of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. They do not have open minds and hearts, so continued contact with Jesus leads not to conversion but to violent rejection, to the point where they plot to have Jesus killed.
The Lord sees this coming. He does what He can to show His enemies where they are going wrong, sometimes with more or less subtle hints, and other times with direct reprimands. What He does not do is compromise, or stop doing what He knows is right.
There are times when we will meet opposition when we are faithful to our principles, and those instances can be fairly predictable. Sometimes our own family members, as well as people with whom we work or socialize, take offense at things like our charitable giving, our defense of traditional marriage, or even things like attending daily Mass or refusing to participate in gossip. We don’t do these things to cause conflict, but sometimes we can foresee that conflict will occur. We need to ask God for the gift of prudence to avoid unnecessary conflict – but at the same time, we cannot let other people’s reactions condition our faithfulness to the truth, or stop us from doing good or speaking out in the face of cruelty or injustice.
Let us pray today that God will grant all Christians the gift of being prudent but fearless in living the faith, and even to rejoice if we face persecution for being His faithful witnesses.