A reading from the gospel of Matthew 10:24-33
Jesus said to his Apostles:
24 “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
26 “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
27 What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28 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.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
30 Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
31 So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33 But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
In these ten verses, Jesus repeated three times, “Do not be afraid” as He sends His apostles to preach the Kingdom of God to a world full of hostility. He knew very well the weaknesses and strengths of the people He is sending.
There are enough reasons to be afraid. Missionaries are not welcomed in many parts of the world. Preachers and priests are martyred. Even ordinary Christians are ridiculed and persecuted by forces seen and unseen.
At present, there is a pandemic that has affected billions of people. People have lost their loved ones and their livelihood. There is a surging rate of infection due to stronger variants of Covid-19 and vaccination is lagging behind schedule in many parts of the world.
Can humanity surmount all of these troubles? Jesus is telling us, do not be afraid. Though the world seems to be in darkness, God who created it is in control. He sees everything including our secrets. He knows everything including the number of our hair. He can do anything and no one is above Him!
Do not be afraid. Though our fear seems to grow bigger, we have a God who is bigger. He is the God of history. Pandemics came and ended before. Wars happened and ended before. Environmental disasters took place and ended before. Is there any problem that God cannot solve?
Do not be afraid. We are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37) Courage is what heroes are made of and we love stories of heroes, don’t we? Why can’t we become one and let our story inspire others?