Reflections - June 25, 2017

“Do not be afraid of them.  Do not be afraid of those you kill the body but cannot kill the soul…..”.  Mt. 10:26,28.
When I reflect on this Gospel “Do not be afraid”, I remember that our beloved Pope John Paul II would say these words in his apostolic visits, in places where the apostolic work was very difficult, however, he would repeat:  “Do not be afraid”.
What does the Lord refer to in today’s Gospel when he told us:  “Do not be afraid”?
Historically we know that when you and I try to live the faith in Jesus Christ there is a price to pay whether social or religious or even with our lives.  We know that although there is not a lot of information given through social media our brothers and sisters in Syria, in the fundamentalist countries, and also in North Korea, China, and Africa, etc. suffer.  We are living in as Pope Francis says:  “the greatest religious persecution of all times with martyrs of all ages”.
Since the beginning Christ’s disciples were rejected and persecuted.  The disciple must suffer the same fate as the master.  “No disciple is above his teacher”. Mt. 10:24.  “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”  Mt. 5:11-12.
These guarantees were the reason for hope and joy for those early Christians.  However, more important than the death of the body is the death of the soul.  “The love of God must overcome the fear of men”.  We are the family of Christ, the Son of God.  We are obliged to maintain the faith in Him.  Do not be afraid, the power of Christ frees us from the fear of “those who try to take away our inner freedom through marginalizing and slandering and by ideological and social manipulations.  Recall:  “these sufferings also help us grow.  They purify us and are fertile because they partake of the mystery of salvation”.
We have the Lord’s promise that strengthens us:  “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father”.  Let us ask the Lord in the Eucharist for the spiritual strength to bear witness to the crucified Christ.  As Paul said:  “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God, 1 Cor. 1:18, in my social, family, community, and working life.