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Luke 12:8-12

The Word of God

Jesus said to the disciples, "And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say."

Luke 12:8-12
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    • Acknowledging Jesus comes from how we see him and from our relationship with him. He desires to be received and welcomed as the Lord of our lives. We are to live out of that relationship. Lord, help us know you more fully, that we may love you more deeply and serve you more courageously in our daily lives.
    • It is not that there is an unforgiveable sin, but people can become so obstinate that they are not open to the forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Life presents challenges to living our faith, but we are reassured that God gives us what we need in the midst of trial (see also Matt 10:16-25). We pray for the faith to rely on the Lord in all situations, knowing that his power behind us is greater than any task ahead.
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    • An American Episcopalian monk, Br Robert l’Esperance, commented on the ‘unforgivable sin’ in these words: “What I think Jesus is saying is that it is possible for us to repeatedly and habitually turn away from God’s mercy. Jesus is saying that it is possible for a human being to become so completely unaware of God’s goodness and mercy that that person can become unaware of sin. When this awareness is dead, repentance, the very act of turning to God, becomes impossible. We can, in essence, become dead to God’s power to save.”
    • Lord, give me eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that understands.
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    • It is not always easy to declare oneself openly for Jesus in the presence of others. Sometimes because we deem it counterproductive, but at other times because we are fearful of what the others might think about us. Today I ask for the gift of light and for fortitude, to be able to live in integrity before Jesus and before others.
    • Everyone who says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Jesus means that if we continually resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit we will end up hardening our hearts to an extent that we are closed even to receive forgiveness. I pray insistently for the grace to keep an open heart, ready to listen and trust.
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    • Once again the shadows are closing in. There are intimations of Holy Week and Jesus' trial, with what sounds like a prediction of Peter's denial.
    • But there is a glimpse also of the wider picture. Even as the Son of Man is handed over for destruction, the Holy Spirit comes to the fore, as the one who prompts and teaches the eloquence needed for defence.
    • The Spirit enables Jesus' followers to give testimony, so that the truth of Christ is heard in the places of trial and prosecution.
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    • I acknowledge each human person I meet and offer them dignity. In that way I acknowledge Jesus. When I spend some time adoring God in a church I am challenged to find him in the pulse of humanity when I walk back out on the street.
    • There surely is something odd about a person who wanders through the flowers, the green fields, and looks up at the high mountains and then curses it – blasphemes against all of nature. The beauty of the world is only one tiny sparkle of the diamond light coming from the Holy Spirit. Look at the stars. Browse the amazing images of the galaxies. Think of the brilliant insights and the incredible talents of human beings. Inspirations in dark moments flow in to renew us. All of them are facets of the Holy Spirit.
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    • Sometimes I find myself unwilling to acknowledge Jesus before others: I am afraid or embarrassed or I simply don't know what to say. I ask Jesus for the grace to be his witness before others, and to believe in his promise that the Holy Spirit will teach me what to say every time.
    • Today we celebrate the memory of a strong woman who was not afraid to take on the male dominated establishment and work for the reform of the Church through radical spiritual renewal. I pray for a greater appreciation of the place and role of women in making the Church closer to what Jesus wants it to be.
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    • Jesus speaks here of the different ways that a relationship with him affects our lives. In prayer, we approach him in our own hearts as our friend and Lord, and this prayer supports us to be strong as we live our Christian values in today’s world. In moments of special difficulty, the Holy Spirit helps us according to our need at the time.
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    • Fear alienates and disables people. It can be employed as an instrument of manipulation and it can lead to disintegration. Jesus is saying that the follower of Christ has nothing to fear. Disciples will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak out in the right way.
    • As I pray with you Lord, I thank you for your forgiveness when I have been disabled by fear. Your love can eliminate my fear. Over and over you tell me not to be afraid. Plant in me your spirit of courage so that I may speak clearly and confidently to others about your word.
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    • Jesus pledges his commitment to all those who are faithful to him. It is yet another incentive to remain a faithful witness to Christ Jesus and his message.
    • Not only does Jesus promise his constant presence in the lives of his faithful ones, but he also promises the help and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, especially in times of need. Is it a liberating feeling for me to know that I may always call upon the help of the Holy Spirit?
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    • In the Acts of the Apostles we see the openness and courage of the first Christians. Do I stand up for what is true and right?
    • The Holy Spirit works by gently prompting us to live and act as Jesus did. The time I give to Sacred Space pleases the Spirit. The Spirit then invites me to put into action what I learn in prayer.
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    • Jesus' words to his disciples are spoken in anticipation of conflict and persecution ahead.
    • When I read them, is my spontaneous response one of being encouraged and challenged or am I frightened and unnerved? Why do I react in this way?
    • What words of comfort are here for me?
    • Saint Luke is writing for Christians who encounter conflict and persecution as followers of Jesus. The words of Jesus at once challenge and console. They challenge us to remain loyal to him, to acknowledge him as Lord, no matter what suffering or derision that entails for us. They reassure us that we do not need to be clever or quick-witted in face of persecutors. We can trust the Holy Spirit to give us either the right words or (as in Jesus' Passion) the eloquent silence that will bear witness to Him.
    • Jesus is aware that some are downing him and mocking him, speaking evil of him. Others defend him and are on his side. Prayer is the time in the day of allowing ourselves be open to the Holy Spirit, the presence of God who guides and protects; the giver of wisdom. Times of prayer can help us to make good and right decisions.