Wisdom and Gentleness

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Jong Biton – SVD Postulancy, Tagaytay City

Friday 14th Week in Ordinary Time

“Be shrewd as serpents.”

Being shrewd can be pejoratively interpreted as being guileful, deceitful, and cunning. I guess we have a Bisayan word for it: maru, short for “marunong,” a corrupted translation of being wise. Being shrewd, however, may not be as negative as it seems, which is why it may mean being prudent or wise, as in Luke 16:1-8.

Simple as doves.

Other Bible versions translate it as gentle, innocent, sincere, or undeceiving. It is being childlike in simplicity, qualities that the disciples needed to possess amidst possible dangers of persecution, betrayal, and hatred.

Christ requires his disciples to be both shrewd and simple.

A shrewd person without simplicity can be dangerously cunning and deceitful.Not wise nor prudent.

A simple person without wisdom can be so naive as to be easily misled. Thus, this is a call for prudence and simplicity in times of adversity. These characteristics made the disciples and missionaries resilient enough to survive persecutions in their own time.

What about us today? Amid the wolves of our times and new forms of persecutions, before “governors and kings” who systematically and slowly introduce a godless society in the guise of democratic equality, before the new “courts” of society, social media, and the like, how can we survive?

Like the disciples then, the challenge to survive these persecutions now should not be met with unconcerned nonchalance, silence, or apathy. We are precisely called to the same prudence and simplicity, wisdom and gentleness. In the same manner, therefore, let us give witness to our faith in creative ways we know now and how. We believe in his promise. We will endure because we are his disciples.

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