Those of us that went through Cubs and Scouts, etc., will remember the motto, “Be prepared.” Its only sensible after all. In the military, anybody likely to be in helicopters with any frequency takes part in HUET – Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. It involves several people being thoroughly trained then being placed in a mock-up helicopter which is dropped into a deep swimming pool. Trainees then have to escape the rapidly sinking vessel (scuba divers are on hand in case of problems). The idea, of course, is that in the event of a crash at sea, everybody on board knows what to do – no one panics.
In today’s Gospel Jesus warns his followers to expect persecution – in the home, within their local Jewish community, and in the wider world. By the time Matthew’s Gospel was written, all this would have become all too familiar to believers.
One of the key Vatican II documents Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope), urges the faithful to be alert to the signs of the times. Australian Christians would have to completely blind not to be aware of the increasingly hostile cultural climate in this nation, especially towards Catholics. We can see not so much what is coming but what is on our doorstep.
Jesus tells us to be prepared. And yet again He surprises – ‘Be prepared, be cunning; it is coming.’ But then “do not worry.”
Don’t worry! But of course, Jesus is right. He will be with us, and He will give us the words that we will need. He will also deliver us – one way or another.
It’s coming, be prepared. And don’t worry, He’s got your back.