In the Gospel Reading no less than three times we hear our Lord exhorting us to “be not be afraid.” Anything that takes place as part of Jesus’ mission is no cause for fear. Christians need not fear for the Father’s hand always protects them.
Today’s Gospel places Jesus’ mission front and center for all to behold (Matthew 10:26-33). God’s Glory cannot be hidden nor can the Good News be silenced.
Himself experiencing fierce resistance leading to his own violent death, Jesus presses His disciples to be focused and resolute in their daily living. No less than three times in the short Gospel passage, Jesus exclaims, “Do not be afraid” (vv. 26, 28, 31).
Discipleship is neither for the faint-hearted nor for the indifferent. To bear witness to Christ Jesus as His faithful follower is no easy endeavor. While Christian faith may involve physical risk and even death, more often in our culture persecution takes the form of marginalizing, ridiculing and scorning. Jesus teaches that the greatest danger before us has nothing to do with worldly terror however fiercely it rages. Rather the supreme threat is sin that destroys our friendship with God. The consequences of sin are damning. Like true children of God, mature Christians respond strongly and bravely when facing difficulties. Struggling against sin with determination helps us. How well we will do to battle against everything that threatens to separate us from God. It prompts us to avoid occasions of sin and more likely to do what is right and just.
Fear only the loss of God. Care not to offend God. Expect God to provide the power needed to endure great trials and to grow stronger interiorly.
Normally it is through little things that we must be strong and brave. When we politely and firmly turn down an invitation to a place or show where good Christians would feel uneasy. When we speak the truth about error with clarity and compassion. When we have to break off a conversation that takes a dark turn. When we seize an opportunity to invite a friend to join us at Mass. When we tactfully and steadily encourage a family member to go to Confession.
Courage in the little things makes our life fruitful.