Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Jesus’ continued instruction to the apostles is important to their mission in serving him. But this mission of service is ours, too. Being a Christian in this world, therefore, means being not only a disciple (a learner) but an apostle (one sent forth), too. Jesus’ words for the twelve are also words for us. We are called to not fear but to proclaim the love of Christ with our lives. We are called to witness our Christian faith to all people by our acts of love, forgiveness, and self giving. We are called to acknowledge Jesus before others, witnessing the joy his love has brought to our lives and Jesus’ desire to give mercy and love to all.
But our walk with Christ can easily be stifled by our fears of what others’ think. Will people see me as some “mental case” Jesus freak? Will people no longer take me seriously because Christ is at the center of my life? These fears are unimportant, and yes, some people will persecute and judge us for our faith. The real fear, however, should be that of temptation and the discouragement of evil: “Fear him who can destroy both body and soul” (28).
Evil and temptation discourage and accuse us in our walk of faith, and by our own choice to follow temptation, we separate ourselves from relationship with God. Jesus, however, triumphantly counters temptation for us. Jesus says that we should not fear because God loves us and counts us dear in his eyes (31) and, according to St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will not allow us to be tried beyond our strength. How we cooperate with God’s love and grace is our choice, however. Discipleship and apostleship are not forced; we are given the grace of desire but must choose to live in Christ.