Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
This week Christ has showed us how the Father loves us, and He commissions us to go and do likewise in the world. He warns us that not everyone will accept this love and some may even seek to harm us because of the news we bring. Should we be at all surprised? Of course not; “No disciple is above his teacher…” Jesus was arrested, imprisoned, bullied, scourged, crowned with thorns and finally crucified for trying to show the Father’s love to the world. Should we be caught off guard when we share in His Passion for attempting the same? He told us yesterday that “…whoever endures until the end will be saved,” and He tells us today that the Father Himself will watch over us; we needn’t be afraid to follow Jesus even unto Calvary.
We must not be afraid to live and preach the Gospel in whatever way we can; there is nothing more crucial in the world. What we have by faith the world has longed for since the Fall; what you have inherited in your Christian faith, what Jesus has shared with you in the privacy of your life with Him, what He has whispered to your heart, let it be heard! Why is it that we are perfectly willing to be silly and reckless when we are in love with each other—marriage proposals at ball parks for example—yet when it comes to our love for God we are shy and straight-laced? Jesus tells us to shout the love of God from the housetops!
What is it that we are afraid of? Jesus tells us to fear only one person: the one who can destroy our soul, as well as our body. The officials and powers of this world can only harm our bodies, and while physical suffering is no laughing matter Jesus puts it into the ultimate context with His own resurrection: this suffering will end, and this body will rise, so do not let such suffering rule over you. There is a deeper, darker power that we must fear, the one that can convince us so thoroughly to turn away from God that we lose our eternal life. That is the evil we must fear, and since no policeman, government official, stranger or other person who may threaten us because of the Gospel can destroy our soul, we need not be afraid of them. It isn’t the results of preaching the Gospel that we should be afraid of, but rather the result of not preaching the Gospel when it is clear that we absolutely must do so. Does not a person in love find that they cannot keep it to themselves? You all, brothers and sisters, have been given the greatest gift you can possibly receive: the love of God. Will you keep it to yourself?
Do not be afraid; you cannot imagine how priceless you are to the Father. You could sit on one side of a massive scale and on the opposite side place all the treasures of the created universe and still you would outweigh its value. Why is this? Two sparrows are sold for a small coin, but you, brothers and sisters, “…were ransomed…not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.” (1 Pt. 1:17-19) For God so loved the world—loved you—that He gave His Son as a ransom for the whole world. Knowing this, what are we afraid of? What are we waiting for?