Fr Roland Agrisola reads and reflects on the Gospel of Matthew (10: 24-33) in which Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid because the Father’s care for them is so great that even the hairs on their heads have been counted.

Fr Roland says, like Jesus, the apostles will be persecuted for preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. They will share the lot of Jesus.  The Lord tells his apostles in today’s reading not to be afraid of the enemies of the Gospel but always to put their trust in God.  The Gospel, which the apostles are sent to proclaim, is the unchangeable source of truth, of meaning, and of life for all people.

The disciples must not be afraid of the enemies of the Gospel because the worst thing they can do is to destroy the mortal body, but they cannot destroy the immortal soul. There’s only one to fear, the Lord says, namely, God.

The fear of God that the Lord Jesus refers to here is the one often mentioned in the bible. It is not that paralysing feeling in the presence of threat or danger but the rational and deliberate decision to listen and obey God, who is the source of life, of all happiness.

God respects the free choice of human beings and so cannot lead them to salvation, to eternal happiness, without their trusting ‘yes’. The biblical fear of the Lord is the trusting surrender to God, who desires nothing but the joy, the peace, and eternal salvation of every human being.  This fear, this trust in the Lord, is shown by obeying God’s commandments.

As missionary disciples, Fr Roland says, we are reminded today of the source of our confidence and courage in fulfilling our mission, namely to Good News, itself.  The Good News of Christ is the source of eternal life and salvation of all people. The Word of God has the power to enlighten and lead human beings in their journey towards the fulfillment of their calling, to the fullness of life, and it is our great honour to share this Good News with others but when persecuted because of this the Lord tells us today to trust in God.  God knows and loves each of us, giving us constantly his light and strength and God alone who can give the gift of eternal life.

For our reflection today, Fr Roland invites us to consider: at this stage of my life, how strong is my faith in the Good News of Christ? Do I trust in God’s mysterious action my life, in the life of others in the world?