by Fr Onyango IMC
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Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Theme: Do not be Afraid!
The world we live in is very cruel especially to those who stand for truth and justice. As Christians this is our call and Jesus already warned us when he said that: ‘In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world!’ Today, a day hardly passes without hearing news of terror; there are threats everywhere, threats that make life difficult for us like the daily persecutions, sin and death. This is what causes great fear for many. But Jesus still calls us to take up our crosses and follow him. In the first reading we hear of the deadly plot against prophet Jeremiah: ‘I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! Denounce him! Let us denounce him! Jeremiah’s friends are busy plotting for his fall. Jeremiah’s confidence comes from his trust in God’s presence; he knows that God is on his side and will not disappoint him.
The threats and gravity of these terrors might appear overwhelming but they are never greater than what God has handled in the history of humanity. St Paul says that humanity inherited death through sin of disobedience of Adam and Eve. However, it is the words of Jesus in the gospel that comes with great assurance and consolation. He says: ‘Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.’ In these comforting and assuring words of Christ, rest our hope and future as Christians. They simply indicate that the Lord is on our side; he is ready and capable of delivering us from both the consequences and harmful effects of sin, as well as from all the threats that we face in our daily life.
The world is already breathing hatred on God’s people and it would be unfortunate if as Christians we also participate in these plots of the destruction of fellow brothers and sisters. Our mission is to make the world a better place for all. Let God protect us from the world, but let us not enter God’s house only to pray that he protects us from the same people we fellowship with. In our life as Christians we will definitely face joyful moments but we will also face some very difficult times. We already accepted to follow the Lord and our following him means we follow him on his way to Jerusalem where everybody celebrates him but we also follow him when the journey turns to Calvary; the road of pain, sweat, fatigue, suffering, loneliness and accusations. We can’t run away from the cross; it is part and parcel of our journey! We just need to ask God for the energy to keep walking no matter how hard the journey may become and as he has assured us: ‘Do not be afraid!’