From the desk of Fr Stephen
Today we find ourselves back in Ordinary Time. The Lenten and Easter seasons are in the past, and we will be in Ordinary Time until Advent. We call it Ordinary Time because it is not a special time with feast days. When I was in the seminary, someone was asked to keep the annals of what was happening during our time so that people who would come after us would have a sense of the history of the times in which we were living. Many times the letters R O A D were entered with nothing else being added. ROAD meant Regular Order All Day, which says there is nothing special happening. In the Church’s calendar, the summertime is for regular order.
In today’s gospel, Jesus sends out the Apostles and tells them not to be afraid. In fact, He tells them three times not to be afraid. It certainly is a natural human emotion to have fear over things from time to time. We may fear a variety of things going on in our lives, but Jesus calls us to trust in Him. Although we may have fear, we know Jesus is with us, and we do not want to let this fear paralyze us.
The fear that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel is the fear of giving witness to God. Jesus asks the Apostles to go out and speak in His name, but many of the Apostles were uneducated men and may not have been accustomed to giving witness in this way. They may have been afraid of making fools of themselves. They certainly were afraid of being reviled and ridiculed. After all, Jesus Himself was mocked and talked about. It was not easy for Jesus to give witness, but He is asking each of us to follow in His footsteps. He calls us each day to give witness in His name and not to be afraid to do it. He will provide us with the courage and will help form the words in our mouths, but we must continue to be receptive to that word.
We must open ourselves each day to God and let Him form us into the people He wants us to be. That is the real key here. We must be actively attentive to the Word of God in our lives. We must pray and read the Bible regularly so that when the time comes for us to give witness, we are ready. We cannot afford to sit back in our comfort zone and look at the world from afar. Each of us is called, especially at this time in our society, to give witness to the injustices that take place around us on any given day. Remember, you are not alone. We must stand together; side by side, arm in arm. There is no reason to be afraid. The Lord Jesus Christ is right with us, also giving witness. The world may reject us for this witness, but certainly, we are held close to Jesus’ breast, and that should make all the difference in the world.