Saturday, July 14, 2012

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings. - St. Francis de Sales

(Gospel text: Mt 10:24-33)
Jesus said to his Apostles:
"No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!

"Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father."

It was St. Francis of Assisi who said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." This quote is often used to emphasize the importance and value of living the Gospel life by example. Obviously, we cannot evangelize for Christ if our own lives fail to bear the marks of ardent discipleship. There is, too, the healing salve of Christian love and joy, which has the power, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, to soften even the hardest hearts. The value of living the Gospel in a spirit of Catholic fellowship and charity cannot be overstated.

Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to speaking the truth in public is fear. For instance, it is not uncommon to find people at social gatherings who are engaged in debate over the economy or the need to provide affordable housing for the poor. While it is true that these are important subjects, if one tactfully and with humility points out that these issues pale in comparison to the evils of abortion or the damage wrought on children, marriage and society by contraceptives, one will suddenly find himself feeling as if he just uttered an incomprehensible punch line in a stale joke.

Although the truth is often unpopular, those who promote it with love can be consoled in the knowledge that they are indeed serving our Lord Jesus Christ. After explaining the parable of the weeds in the field to his disciples, Jesus said: "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43). And in the book of Daniel we read: "Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever" (12:3).

Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter Caritas In Veritate, reminds the faithful of the nature of charity: "Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. . . . To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, rejoices in the truth".

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