Be shrewd. Be simple. Beware. All this week we've been getting lessons from Jesus about how to be holy, about how to survive and thrive in the world w/o being of the world. Today we tells us to be wise, to be astute. Sharp, smart like a serpent but innocent, harmless as a dove. That's quite the unique combo to pull off! So, what does innocent shrewdness look like? At the root of this disposition is agape, sacrificial love – willing the Good for the Other even unto death. IOW, properly using innocent shrewdness (or being shrewdly innocent) is just being Christ in the world. Knowing the Truth, living the Way, and expecting w/o hesitation Eternal Life. Through that lens and within that frame, we adopt the mind of Christ and become Christ even as we compose his Body as members. Because we are his mind and body, we are set aside, consecrated for a holy purpose. That holy purpose is to be an irritant to the world. Like a grain of sand in an oyster. It is also about being a witness, testifying to the mercy of God so that the oyster might produce a pearl. All this irritation and testimony makes us vulnerable to persecution, so Jesus teaches us to get out of his way when the trial begins, “Don't worry about what you will say. The Spirit of the Father will speak through you.” If this seems strange, it shouldn't. You have put on the Mind of Christ. You are a member of his Body. You participate in his Spirit. You eat and drink his body and blood. The whole point of baptism, confirmation, all the sacraments is to give you all you need to be perfected in Christ. So, when the prosecutions come and the trials begin, who else would speak for you but Christ? The trick – if there is one – is to get out of his way. Die to self. Lose your life. Hate the world. Those who are wise understand these things; those who are prudent know them. Straight and narrow are the paths of the Lord, on them the just walk while sinners stumble.