Gospel Matthew 10: 26-33
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."
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your Love, send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and thou shall renew the face of the earth. Amen
Let us sit with the disciples and with them, listen to Jesus. Listen with your heart. What do you hear? Look into our Lord's eyes, they are so tender and loving, allow His gaze to penetrate you- what is it- what enters your heart when Jesus says to you-personally "Fear no one." Is it encouragement? Is it a challenge? Or is it a reprimand? Jesus is not referring to 'things' here or events. He is telling us; "Fear no one", except the proper and rightly ordered "Fear of the Lord." First of all, what does fear 'do' to us, as human beings? To name a few things; Fear can make us hide, it can make us whisper, it can draw out 'self-preservation' at the cost of Charity leaving our hearts. Fear can make us doubt ourselves and our worth and our God given gifts. Fear can make us refrain from speaking when we should, or it can cause us to be untrue to our very self, it can prevent us, from being who we truly are created to be, before God. Sometimes, we can be 'afraid' even of ourselves, of our fallen human nature and its capacity to be unfaithful to the Lord. All of these things we see in the Gospel passage today. Let us ponder them.
Fear can also; paralyze movement, it can squelch initiative, it can chill love, it can make the brave mute, it can diminish creativity, it can chip away the desire to grow in goodness. "Fear no one." It seems to me however, there is an even more insidious effect of fear and that is, it suffocates Trust, which prevents us from looking upwards to our Father in Heaven for help and guidance with confidence and peace. Trust is the most intrinsic quality between a child and her/his Father. Trust allows us to breathe and to live freely the present moment, not because we 'have it together' and so we have nothing to fear, but rather, it is precisely because we know that we don't have it together, and further, we know it doesn't get in our way, or stop us from doing good, because God our Father in heaven is with us, His providence is always there to sustain us in the good. This past Tuesday, a woman caught me after Mass in the back of the Church, to tell me about her son's death. We prayed together for the repose of his soul. She was a loving mother, her son had suffered so much over the years. The woman's daughter then came up and shared how she went to a medium to seek comfort and solace after her brothers death wanting to know if he is at peace. My heart ached and burned inside me all at the same time. I looked her right in the eye and said: "Go to Jesus", "Go only to Jesus." It was clear what I said was not welcome. But I knew another set of eyes were gazing upon me, and those eyes are the only eyes that matter to me. I love the quote from Sirach 15:15. "To act faithfully is a matter of your own choice." Question to Ponder: Am I seeking to please God or men? Freedom lies in pleasing God, what is stopping me from being faithful?