First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10 – 13. Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 69. Second Reading:

Romans 5: 12 – 15. Gospel: Matthew 10: 26 – 33.

Jesus said to his Apostles: “Fear no one; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered,
and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light;
and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy
both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will
fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So
do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before humans, I also will acknowledge before my
Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before humans. I also will deny before my Father in
From Virginia to Northern Florida and westward to eastern Texas and Oklahoma is called the
‘Bible Belt.’ A professor in a local college was lecturing about the religiousity of the residents in
that Bible Belt area. Quoting from a Survey study taken some years back, he was proud enough
to say that there were more than 25000 denominational churches in this part of the land. After his
lecture, he offered a time to the forum for sharing. One of his students said, ‘Is it is not something
weird? Why do we need so many churches to a student girl responded, “It may be, people are
thirsting for God, they are in need of spiritual water.’ Another student retorted: ‘No, I think it is
relationship.’ The third one with an angry face stated, ‘No, it is all pride.’ There was a middle
aged man who attended the lecture as a guest, in a spiteful way but smiling at the audience: ‘We
can also say it is because of fear. It’s fear of facing some people around them; fear of facing
themselves; fear of being challenged.’
During the days of the French revolution, when religion was proscribed and believers persecuted
on all sides, a Breton peasant was put on trial for his beliefs; and one of the soldiers, noting how
firm he was, said to him contemptuosuly: “Why do you still believe in these things? Soon we
shall kill all your priests.”
“That shall be as God permits,” was the reply.
We shall trample on your crosses and statues.”
“God will punish you for it.”
“Your beliefs and your churches will be leveled to the ground, and there will be no place left for
you to continue your superstitious practices. What will you do then?”

“There are certain things you cannot tear down.”
“And what re they?”
“You cannot tear down the stars; that primer is left to us. We shall teach our children to spell
from it the name of God.”
Today’s first reading reminds us of the trials of the prophet Jeremiah, and the Gospel speaks of
our duty of witnessing to Christ in the world – both reminders that all members of the People of
God are potentially prophetic and that all should play some part in handing on the truth about
God. In a sense, we are all successors to Jeremiah and to the apostles whose job it was to share
Christ’s message with the world.
Not all Christians have equal opportunities of being spokespersons for God. Bishops and priests
have the official duty of encouraging and teaching the faithful. Their difficult but worthwhile task
is to faithfully hand on Christ’s teaching, and correct errors that threaten the integrity of the
traditional Christian doctrine or ethical standards. Like Jeremiah and other Old Testament
prophets, they remind their people of God’s revealed will and of the high moral standards God
asks of us. And, like the prophets, priests can often expect criticism and opposition, just for doing
their job.
Theologians too have an important work to fulfill in the Church, to deeply study the revealed
truth, and then blend that traditional teaching with modern knowledge, so as to honestly apply the
Christian message to new problems. To help them in this daunting work they have the light of the
same Holy Spirit who guided the prophets of old, provided they do their research not as masters
but as servants of the word of God. But it is not only priests and theologians who have the
prophetic role towards God’s people. The Second Vatican Council taught that every Christian
should give a living witness to Christ, at least through living a life of faith and charity and by
joining in worship and prayer.
This is not such an easy matter. The spirit of today’s society, the example of our contemporaries,
and the irreligious mood of much of the media do not always foster God-fearing attitudes or
encourage sound moral standards. In most countries today, Christians are not persecuted for
showing faith in Christ and his Gospel, but when she or he lives according to this teaching they
will be swimming against the tide of a materialistic culture and will not find the going easy. Jesus
warns that being a Christian will cost sacrifice and suffering. We are bound to face opposition
from a world that does not gladly submit to the word of God, that makes so many demands on

human nature. But there is real satisfaction, too, in standing up for the truth of things. In the centre
of their souls, prophetic people have the happiness of working with the Lord, who is the ultimate
truth on whom we all depend.
Jeremiah’s life is a perennial source of inspiration for all those who have any desire to live for
God, or to all who wish to dedicate their lives for a just cause. Was it easy for Jeremiah to remain
faithful to Yahweh? Was his life a bed of roses? Obviously, Jeremiah had to pay a very heavy
price in order to carry out the mission that was entrusted to him. His life had become really a bed
of thorns. He had vehemently opposed, persecuted and rejected by all. He had become a
laughing stock, an object of mockery. He had also his own share of fears and doubts. Yet, finally
we see him turning out to be a real hero, by putting his trust in the one who had called and chosen
People who deny the importance of religion criticize it in that way. On the contrary in today’s
Gospel, Jesus invites us to his religion to overcome fear and expects his disciples to live in peace
and boldness. Today in the Gospel, Jesus speaks about this far and advises his disciples: “So have
no fear of them….Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him
who can destroy both soul and body in hell…. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than
many sparrows.”
On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and our Blessed
Mother they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were set free from every kind of fear. Division
is fostered by fear and in which we don’t want to take time to listen to others, to understand
others. To offer them the opportunity to speak from their hearts, because we are afraid. We
believe in a world where we like to have quick answers and solutions to all our problems. In our
western world we are good in fixing things. Sometime that attitude may live very little space to
the Holy Spirit to work in us.
Fear is a sense of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminenece of danger, like for
example to go on a flight to a foreign land or to appear for an interview for a job. Fear positively
speaking is an inborn quality or a gift given by God to safeguard oneself and other fellow human
beings for our life-safety. It helps the person either to attack or to hide or to take precautions to
face or even to back off from situations that are dangerous and injurious to life. This is the nature
of any living beings on earth. Psychologically fear is not only natural but also neutral. What you
make or do with that fear, makes you fear more. You make thus monsters out of it: It turns out
to be morbidity, terror. Such a mental set up can be misused by Satan or other human beings. Let
us look at Jeremiah in the first reading. He groans and mourns about his enemies, his personal
friends and his own relatives doing havoc to him. “For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all

around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to
Every human being is intimidated by different kinds of persons as cold terroristic, silence
bombers, prophetic cursers, gossip judges and creative Hitlers. Jesus tells us today in the Gospel
that we should never be intimidated by human beings. Most of them are exploiting us using our
natural proclivity to fear. These people can be our own moms and dads, superiors and teachers,
people who hold authority, people who are wealthy and affluent, people who have physical
stamina, even talented and creative people in media and so on. Jesus wants us not to get rid of the
fear, instead, he invites us to hold a healthy fear. He tells us even God uses our fear but always
for our better life. He compares and contrasts the fear of man against fear of God. He advises us
to fear God and not men. That is what we read in the Book of Sirach: The fear of the Lord is
glory and exultation. To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This fear towards the Lord
brings reverence to him. Such a healthy fear leads a person to positive action, balanced life,
wholeness, truth, reverence, sincere loyalty of submission and clear understanding and acceptance
of one’s own identity and dignity.
A genuine Christian cannot fully escape Christ’s call to be different from the world. What he asks
us is not to conform to the standards of this world, but rather to transform those standards. St Paul
thought of Sin entering this world through one man, Adam, and through sin death, so that death
has spread throughout the whole human race, because sin is so universal. The world’s greatest sin
is unbelief, and the task of the Church is to challenge this unbelief, relying on the help of the Holy
Spirit. The last words of Jesus, according to St Matthew, were, “Go and make disciples of people
everywhere; baptise them and teach them to observe all that I taught you. And I am with you
always, yes to the end of time.”
While we live in this world, we are meant to remain aware of the world to come, and live for God
by pursuing the standards Jesus set for us. When the Apostles worried about the future, Christ
encouraged them, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you always.” The deepest truth about God that Jesus
taught is that he is a caring God, compassionate and forgiving, a God who is on our side. Our
attitude to life can be that of the psalmist who says, “In God I trust – I shall not fear” (Ps 56:1.
The only thing to fear is losing God, loss of trust in God. This lack of trust begins when I look for
security through my own efforts, in the works and wealth of my own making. Jesus criticised the
feverish efforts, the anxious haste and worry of those worldly people, who refuse to grant God any
part in their lives. “In God I trust; I shall not fear.”

Jesus himself on the night of his last Passover, was about to suffer more than anyone had ever
suffered, or ever will suffer in time to come. Yet, he remained affectionate and caring towards his
friends and shared the meal with them, even the one who was plotting his betrayal. Later in
Gethsemane when the terror of what lay ahead caused his sweat to fall like great drops of blood,
his prayer was still, “Not my will but yours be done.” No matter how awful the future may seem,
this should be our prayer and our spirit too.
We have to cultivate a healthy fear. This is possible only if we accept and acknowledge the
identities of both God and ourselves. We know we are creatures and creation of God. He is our
beginning, the process and the end of life. He is mightier than any living creatures. Let us pledge
today our loyalty to God in Jesus. Let the fear of the Lord rule us so that, we are not intimidated
by any other powers in this world. Let us focus our attention always on God in our tensions,
anxieties and afflictions. The Lord will surely hear the cry of the just and the poor and lift us up
to a heavenly bliss and peace where there is no fear at all.
Jesus tells us plainly that we have no reason to fear those who can inflict bodily death. Why is
that so? Because bodily death is far less serious than the real death, separation from God, the
source of life. The only One to be feared is God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Yet
this cannot be taken as divine punishment that falls on a person, for it is the hardening from within
that a person chooses for himself. The book of Wisdom teaches us, “God loathes nothing He has
made” (Wisdom 11: 24). When we are enveloped by the providential care of our heavenly Father
even to the smallest detail, why should we be afraid?
“When you have nothing left but God, then you become aware that God is enough.”

  • Rayden

God bless