Commentary on the Gospel of
Several years ago while in Cincinnati for a professional conference, my colleague and I had the opportunity to spend some time in the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The exhibits were so engaging and left us in awe of the courage of the enslaved people seeking freedom and the individuals who offered safety and support along the way. Looking back on that time in history, my colleague and I wondered what role we would have played in helping enslaved people find freedom. As we turned a corner in the museum, the Freedom Center had another exhibit reminding us that this is not just an issue from our past, but indeed today many people are experiencing modern slavery in forms such as human trafficking and exploited workers. Rather than leaving us feeling shame, the Freedom Center lifted up the work of several NGO’s who are committed to working for the dignity of all people. The exhibit offered ways we could support these modern-day abolition efforts.
My experience in the Freedom Center came to mind as I read today’s Gospel from Matthew. Many times this reading often has left me confident that if I had been one of the twelve apostles, I would have bravely spoken of my faith in Jesus. I believed I would have been ready to be shrewd as a snake and simple as a dove. There is much to inspire us in history, yet the lessons learned can become unintentionally simplified. I begin to wonder how I am showing my fidelity to the Gospel today. Rather than feel overwhelmed or concerned that I am not doing enough, I find solace in Jesus’ words: 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. These words remind me that I am not alone and indeed I can trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Today I pray for clarity to speak my truth. I ask God for the grace to help me have the wisdom to engage in difficult conversations and the courage to confront words and actions that need to be challenged. I pray for the grace to see those who need the support of a modern-day abolitionist. I ask to be reminded that a kind word, a simple gesture, or being present might be the truth someone so deeply desires. I pray to be open to hearing the truth others share.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you to all truth and remind you of all I told you.