Sunday, June 19, 2005
Be not afraid  

The phrase most commonly associated with John Paul the Great is "Be not afraid" which he proclaimed on many occasions. In fact, in his first address after his election on October 16, 1978, he said, "Be not afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ." These words became a theme throughout his pontificate. As the Vicar of Christ, it is not surprising that He would take our Lord's words and apply them to today's world. Consequently, John Paul the Great urged us to heed the words of our Lord who on several occasions found it necessary to exhort the disciples to not be afraid. One of those times is recorded in today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10:26-33.

Three times, Jesus encourages the disciples to not be afraid:
Jesus said to the Twelve:
"Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father."
These are words that He is speaking to the disciples after He has called the Twelve and He is preparing to send them out like "sheep among the wolves." (10:16) However, the point is that they should not fear to proclaim the Good News even among the wolves because the wolves cannot destroy their souls even if they are able to destroy their bodies. If they speak the truth which Jesus teaches them, they are acknowledging the Truth, and He will acknowledge them before the Father. If in this life, they must sacrifice their bodies for the sake of acknowledging Christ, their souls will be saved. It is interesting to note that of the Twelve, according to tradition, all but St. John (and Judas) met violent martyrdoms. Each of these martyrs was required to sacrifice his body for the sake of proclaiming Christ.

I hope and pray that the U.S. bishops who are wrapping up their meeting in Chicago reflect upon this Gospel reading. As successors to the apostles, they are called to "speak in the light" and "proclaim on the housetops" the fullness of the Faith. We who are lay people are also called to be faithful speakers of the truth. How can we do it? By not being afraid because we can fully trust in the One who knows even the number of hairs on our heads.

Posted by David at 3:30 AM  |  Comments (1)  | Link

1 Comments:

It was awesome today at Mass hearing this Gospel. When I was a senior in High School, this is the scripture that changed my life. After I read this, I lived my life under a new motto "Fear nothing but God for if you fear Him, you need not fear anything else." That is a great way to live your life.

By Anonymous The Heart of a Seminarian, at June 20, 2005 9:43 PM  

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