"Therefore do not be afraid of them.
It is comforting that Jesus prepared us for our lives as his disciples. It is good to be reminded that if people don’t accept his call to radical trust in God, they aren’t going to accept us if we try to live with trust in God. So, today we can listen to Jesus reassure us that we have nothing to fear from those that don’t accept him. Jesus’ call to us is simple: take the Word I share with you and share it with others, boldly, out in the open, without fear.
Jesus knows that fear so inhibits our ability to be his disciples. We are often very reluctant to boldly and confidently love and forgive another person because we fear rejection or being hurt. It is really hard to love, in a defensive posture. Jesus knows that fear can even inhibit our ability to see our gifts accurately. With fear, we feel small. Everybody feels bigger, stronger, more powerful, smarter, more talented and threatening.
Jesus wants us to know that we are simply precious. Just look, he says, at how every creature around us, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is filled with life by God and precious to God. In our Father’s eyes, we are very special, very dear, very important.
So it is really very critical that we let what Jesus wants us to know into our hearts today, whether the call is to love someone close to us or to help transform the world. We can listen to him, throughout the day saying, “So do not be afraid.” Even if the other spirit is whispering in our other ear, “Oh, don’t listen to that. Your spouse won’t respond to your love. It won’t be worth it. How could it heal him/her? It’s likely to just make him/her more angry at you,” we can listen to Jesus say, “Just don’t be afraid. Don’t give fear the power to take away your courage to love.” Even if the enemy is holding us back, saying, “Don’t let this faith stuff get out of hand. People don’t like religious people. You’re going to come across as acting better than everyone else. The world’s not perfect. Everybody is doing the best we can. The poor you will always have with you. Some of this stuff is going to get you into politics,” Jesus will simply say, “Go ahead, with peace, and trust in God.”
If we let him, Jesus will embolden us to be reconcilers in our
faith community, in our neighborhood, in our workplace, with our
extended family. With Jesus’ en-courage-ment, we can advocate
on behalf of the poor or marginalized. Speaking out, in defensive
of the dignity of human life with a seamless witness, breaking through
the polarizing rhetoric of the political arena to speak and act
with clarity, will make us as vulnerable to ridicule as our Master
was. Acting against unjust social structures, refusing to be compromised
by them, will be very costly. They didn’t like it when Jesus
did it. But, Jesus can free us to act justly and to work in solidarity
with others, on behalf of those in need. And we have his guarantee,
that he will be our advocate before our heavenly Father.
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