Matthew 10: 16-23

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

“. . . You Better Look Good on Wood”

Today’s gospel calls to mind a statement by Jesuit Father and social activist Daniel Berrigan that has always challenged me: “If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

Like many, I find it difficult to get too close to Jesus’ cross, let alone carry my own crosses or those of others. This is the tough stuff of faith. But it’s also the heart of faith. Discipleship is a gift that bears ultimate joy, but there is a cost.

After commissioning the twelve disciples, Jesus makes two things clear: they will face persecution, but they will be saved if their faith endures to the end.

I envy the first disciples. Not only because they had direct experience of Jesus, but because they were so on fire with faith that they risked being rejected and even killed to share God’s love with the world. Following Jesus then and now is risky business, especially when we truly live out our faith.

Today, let’s name some ways we can put our faith into action, even at the risk of being countercultural, or at the very least uncomfortable. And let’s trust that we don’t walk alone!

—Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.


Lord, following you is going with you out of love. To follow behind you on the same journey, the same path that will lead to the cross. The spirit of the world will not tolerate such a path and therefore will make us suffer. Lord, we ask for this grace: to follow you in the way that you have taught us and to claim your promise that you will never leave us alone. Never!

—Based on the homily of Pope Francis, May 28, 2013, click here