Missionary Prudence and Wisdom
Readings: 1st: Mic 2:1-5; Ps: 10; Gos: Mt 12:14-31
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
In the Gospel of this Saturday of the fifteenth week of ordinary time, Christ did something surprising and remarkable.
It is surprising because, one could be obliged to ask: If Christ is God, why was he afraid, or why did he withdraw from his assassins?
According to the popular Roman historian, Tacitus (55-120 AD): “He that fights and runs away, may return and fight another day, but he that is slain in battle, will never rise to fight again.”
Withdrawal is not always an act of cowardice. Sometimes it could also be an act of bravery. Christ’s actions during his earthly ministry were derived from his two natures as, true God and true man.
First, he withdrew because, it was not yet time for him to offer the greatest sacrifice for the salvation of the world. As God, Christ is in control of his own time.
He, and not his enemies, knows and decides when to fulfill his father’s will. Hence, at the right time, he told Pontus Pilate: “You would have no power over me, if it were not given to you from above” (Jn 19:11).
Second, being human, Christ displayed his gift of prudence and wisdom. He knew there was still much to accomplish on earth. So, he would not allow anyone distract him from finishing his mission.
Today’s gospel has a very important message for us. What Christ displayed was “missionary prudence and wisdom”. Any missionary that lacks these, may not complete or fulfill God’s plan in his mission.
Paul also displayed this missionary prudence and wisdom. He listened to the Spirit of God (Acts 16: 6). So, he knew when to advance or withdraw from each mission.
Unfortunately, many missionaries cast prudence to the wind, and allow God’s mission to be abruptly terminated. Some also, have a wrong notion of what martyrdom entails.
Martyrdom comes “freely”, or as a “gift” at God’s own time. So, due to culpable ignorance and lack of prudence, rather than suffer martyrdom, one may “suffer” an unintended suicide.”
So, let us ask Christ to teach us to listen to the Holy Spirit in our mission, in order to be able to make prudent and wise decisions, and to wait for God’s time for us.
Peace be with you all!