Vatican City: Pope Francis reminds us to confess Jesus before others, not to be afraid of the challenges of life, but to be strong and courageous. In his sermon on Sunday afternoon, the pope said this. The pope began his sermon with the words that today’s evangelistic portion is part of a missionary sermon that prepares the apostles for their first experience of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus constantly admonishes them not to be afraid or to be afraid, and he explains to them the three concrete conditions they face. The first is the enmity of those who seek to block God’s Word. Here Jesus is motivating the apostles to deliver the message of salvation He has delivered them. Jesus diligently hands it over to a small group of disciples. But they must preach the gospel “in the light,” that is, in public. They must proclaim it publicly, as Jesus says, from above.

The second difficulty that the Messengers of Christ must face is the physical threat against them. It is a personal, even executed, torture against them. Jesus’ prophecy is always fulfilled: it is a painful reality, but it testifies to the faithfulness of the witnesses. How many Christians are persecuted around the world today. They endure the gospel with love, and they are our present-day witnesses. We can say with certainty that they were more than early martyrs.

Many martyrs have died for the sole reason that they are Christians. Jesus urges his disciples yesterday and today, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10,28). There is no need to fear those who seek to deprive evangelical power through arrogance and violence. In fact, there is nothing they can do against the Spirit, that is, oneness with God. No one can take it away from the disciples, because it is a gift from God.

Jesus points out that the third temptation that the apostles must face is the feeling that God has forsaken them and left them in silence. Here again, Jesus’ instruction is: “Do not be afraid.” Because despite all these and other dangers, the lives of the disciples are safe in the hands of God who loves and cares for us. They are like three temptations, namely, one to wrap the gospel in sugar, add water to it, and two. Third, the thought that God will abandon us.

Sometimes one experiences this spiritual drought. But we should not fear it.

The Father takes care of us. For we are precious in his sight. The key here is our sincerity and our bold testimony, that is, to accept Jesus before others and to continue doing good. The Pope concludes with the words, “May the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the model of faith and trust in God, help us to submit ourselves to God and His grace always, not to despair.”


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