Do Not Be Afraid

Homily for Thursday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Throughout his time as Pope, John Paul II (whose feast day we will celebrate on Saturday) consistently told us to not be afraid to follow Christ. He challenged us to not be afraid to proclaim the Gospel in our words, our actions, and our thoughts. He continually called us to strive to share the Truth of our faith with the world in every aspect of our lives, using whatever means necessary.

JPII once said: “This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern metropolis.”

One thing JPII never said was that the mission of preaching the message of Jesus and challenging people to recognize the truths of our faith would be easy. And that’s exactly what the Lord reminds us of in today’s Gospel. The message of Truth is always one that will spark division.

I think many of us have seen that in over the last several years in a very real way. So often today, people of faith are looked down upon and ridiculed in the public square, especially when we voice our opposition to some of the most prominent political issues facing our country. Many times, living our faith in every aspect of our lives and being witnesses to the Gospel can even spark division and conflict within our families and our social circles. And yet, despite that, we are called to persevere. We are challenged to still speak the truth, to call others to relationship with Jesus, and to challenge them to conversion.   

When that mission becomes difficult and we are tempted to be discouraged by our attempts to live as true disciples of Jesus, we should take to heart the message of Pope John Paul II: do not be afraid to stand up for the Truth even when it seems like the world and the Church is giving into chaos. Even when we know that embracing Truth might cause those around us to attack us.

We should hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ. He is the anchor which keeps us grounded, even when holding firm to that faith leads to division amongst family members and friends. Pray for those who struggle to accept the Good News of salvation, those who are not receptive to true faith in Jesus, those who refuse to accept the teachings of the Church. But remember, even in the midst of chaos and confusion, Jesus Christ is Lord today, forever, and always.

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash. Used under Unsplash license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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