A word from—Fr. Chris
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28)
Brethren, we have returned to our celebration of the Sunday Liturgy called the Sundays in Ordinary Time from where we broke off to enter the holy season of Lent, followed by Easter and its tide and the subsequent solemnities. Today we are on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Listening to our first reading from the Book of Jeremiah we hear him warning God’s people that they would avoid the destruction that awaits them if they live according to God’s law. The people didn’t like this message. They decided to kill him. His words in today’s first reading reflect the pain and misery he experienced for being faithful to his mission. We would be shocked when we hear him pray that God would take vengeance of his persecutors. He said so because he was not as perfect as Jesus who prayed for those who persecuted him. This first reading leads us into the gospel message. Jesus had chosen the twelve apostles and prepared them to be sent out as messengers. He warned them that their message may not be well received by their hearers. They would even suffer and be killed as a result. It is true that there is an innate fear in all humans when life is at stake or threatened, nevertheless they have to preach the gospel message with courage and determination even at the cost of their life. In his words Christ said to them, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather be afraid of God, who can kill both body and soul and cast them into hell” (Matt. 10:28). This is how some saints who are martyrs are in heaven today. We appreciate them for their love and courage to die for Christ.
What can we say in today’s world where some Moslems kill and destroy other human beings simply because of their faith as Christians? Is it not all they can do? In the end, they have to await God’s vengeance. In the face of these crimes and atrocities Christ encourages us as his own people not to be afraid. He is with us in good times and in bad. In his own words, “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin, yet not one of them falls to the ground without my Father’s knowledge, even all the hairs of your head are counted, so do not be afraid”.
He tells us, “whoever confesses publicly that he belongs to me, I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven, but whoever denies publicly that he belongs to me, I will deny him before my Father in heaven.” May these Words, sink into our hearts. Amen.