1. Jeremiah 20: 7,10-13
Gospel: Matthew10:26-33

                                        " What to fear?"

We are told a story that Some years ago, a Christian minister and a group of students from Canada went to Kenya for a summer field program. They had a jeep to enable them travel deep into the rugged hinterland. In the course of their travel the vehicle got some breakdown thus they had to employ the service of the village mechanic. The mechanic saw the problem, travelled to the city and brought spare parts that were missing in the car. The mechanic fixed the car for three days. The clergy man who told this story himself, said that he was afraid that the mechanic's service charges would be too high, thus in order to force the mechanic to settle for less, he went into the washroom, removed much of the money from his wallet and hid it in his socks. The idea was that when the mechanic tells him the cost he would open his wallet and hid it in his socks. The idea was that when the mechanic tells him the cost he would open his wallet and say " Look, this is all I have." So he comes out of the washroom  and they are ready to leave. He says  to the mechanic, " So now, what do you charge for your workmanship?" The mechanic looks at him and says, " You are a man of God. I do it for God. God will pay me. For you it is free of charge. The clergyman concluded his story with the observation that the mechanic, through his faith in God, has overcome the fear of poverty and attachment to money, which he in his relative affluence was not able to do.

Today's gospel is a continuation of the instructions that Jesus gave to the twelve apostles as he sent them out to go and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The values of the Kingdom are different from the values of the world, so much so that people tend to reject the message and turn against the messengers. From the history we clearly understand that  almost all the apostles died the violent death of martyrdom. Some of them ended up being  crucified on the cross like Peter and Andrew; beheaded, like James and Paul; flayed alive like Bartholomew; or thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, like John. It was natural, therefore, for the apostles to fear as Jesus sends them out to evangelize a hostile world. Yielding to this fear would make them abandon the dangerous mission in order to save their skin. So Jesus instructs them in today's gospel on how to overcome this crippling fear. 

The key is to look unto Jesus as their hero and model. As Jesus said earlier in this discourse " A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master"( Matthew 10:24).
From the gospel reading we can understand that there were two fears that apostles had: Fear of false accusation and conviction, and fear of bodily harm and death. In either case Jesus teaches them that the way to overcome the fear is by keeping  one's mind focused not on the here- and now but on the coming of the Kingdom of God. " So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known"(verse 26).

The authorities that persecuted Jesus and his followers had their strategies for covering up the truth. They knew how to tamper with evidence, produce false witnesses and convict the innocent. They cover up the truth and celebrate a lie. Many of the apostles like their master Jesus, would be falsely accused and unjustly condemned to shameful treatment and death. The way to overcoming this fear is to look up to Jesus who has demonstrated by his rising from the dead that in the end every lie will be exposed, the truth will come to fight and justice will again be just." Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" ( verse28).

By looking to Jesus we see that the trials and sufferings of this life, especially those that we face as we try to live out and share our faith with others are short-lived. We should, therefore, not give in to fear of contradiction, knowing that in the end truth with triumph over untruth, justice over injustice and eternal life over death, as we see already in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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Chapisha Maoni