Sem. Ryan Recto
Who will not be afraid when we open our accounts on social media, read the newspaper or read online news and hear more about terrorism, killings, injustices and all deadly events could happen any second? Nation against nation, corruptions, abortion, human trafficking, destructions of nature, not to mention the threat of nuclear weapons which can kill thousands or even millions of people. Psychological and physical illness, we experience that leads us to fear of death and suffering. What can we do as disciples today?
In our gospel, Jesus is sending his disciples on the mission that could be a surprise for them and provoke both fear and excitement. Jesus gives them encouragement which his disciples need on their journey. Because Jesus knows it will not be that easy. He told them, “Fear no one.” It appears three times and with these words, Jesus encouraged the disciples to overcome the fears that could make them abandon their mission of proclaiming the Word of God through their deeds and words. Jesus assured them that their oppressors could destroy the body, but never the soul. Fear must not stop the disciples from proclaiming the Word of God because the coming of the Reign of God was unavoidable.
Every one of us are called to be disciples of Christ from our birth through baptism, receiving Christ through the Eucharist and remembering Christ by following his teaching in our daily lives. Our existence is not an accident, even a mistake because we are born with a purpose: that is to be Christ’s disciples. It is accompanied by responsibilities, commitments and even difficulties. These perhaps are the reasons why some are not comfortable to be Jesus’s disciples. It is so heavy and maybe will put them on the spot of rejection and disappointment. However, Jesus always reminds his disciples in the gospel from the very start that being his disciple will be difficult. He invites his disciples to have faith, trust, live in him and fear no one so that their courage will arise responding to their call of discipleship and their confidence in God will be deepened.
As Jesus sends his disciple in their mission, it is the same mission we have today, it is to make Jesus known in his teachings and his life. Jesus gives certain reasons why we don’t need to be afraid rather to be courageous. Many events happening right now in the world can raise our fears. Some of it could be more devastating than others. Again, Jesus encourages us, “Fear no one.” It does not mean we have certificate to do incredible stunts, or be a superhero or go against the law, but rather fearing no one is a call to carry Jesus in our lives in words and deeds in a very simple way as disciples today. The Father sends Jesus and by the Holy Spirit send us too. Jesus associates all churches in his mission of proclaiming the gospel to all people.
We are all disciples and a humble representative of our family, friends, relatives and others. Our mission is to make Jesus known so that all may witness the truth and salvation Jesus’ offers in spite and despite of every differences and conflicts that divide us. It is truly a challenge for every Christian in the world to be responsible in transferring and sharing our faith and our personal witnessing as part of our mission. Jesus again reminds us today in the Gospel of Matthew, “Fear no one,” because we have our Church that will guide us through her teachings revealed in the scriptures, pass through traditions, taught by the Magisterium and the experience of faith.
Fear is a natural part of being a human and Jesus knows it. Taking over our fear in our own will be more difficult. It is an invitation of deepened relationship and building total confidence in God so that we able to participate in His grace of courage and given virtue of fortitude in overcoming fear. Through our prayers as disciples, we can express our trust in God. As a disciple, fear has no space, but only love and forgiveness is needed to overcome injustices and violence. Let us grab the opportunity today to be responsive disciples by many and little ways. For us to respond this invitation perfectly, we need the grace of courage and virtue of fortitude to overcome our fears and continue the mission proclaiming Jesus as merciful, compassionate and forgiving.