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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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After summoning the twelve, commissioning and instructing them, (Mt 10:1-15), Jesus was so forthright to tell them what their mission would entail- future opposition and persecution, (vv16-25). He, then encouraged the disciples to stand firm and not to be afraid, (vv26-33, the gospel for today).

The verb “phobeō” (φοβἐω) is frequently used (in the negative) in exhorting people in the Bible. Its earlier equivalent in OT mostly was addressed by God to individuals at significant points of divine-human revelation to comfort them: for example, to Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 15:1, 21:17, 26:24, 46:3); to the prophets, Jeremiah (1:8, 42:11), Ezequiel (2:6), and to his people in general, where God command them not to fear others, especially their enemies because God is with them, (Dt 1:21,29,3:2; Jos 8:1,10:8; 2 Sam 9:7). In the NT, both Joseph and Mary were exhorted not to fear during the revelation about the birth of Jesus (Mt 1:20; Lk 1:30, and with Zechariah earlier about John’s birth, v 12). Often Jesus uttered these words with the invitation to have faith in him before performing miracles, Mk 5:36, 6:50; Mt 14:27, 17:7; Lk 8:50; John 6:16). And when he resurrected he greeted him with peace and banished all their fears, (Mt 28:10; cf John 20:21,26).

In advising them not to fear death (v28; cf Lk 12:4-7), Jesus declared that the persecutors may bring the disciples to death for their belief. But they can do no more than that, for they cannot deprive them of eternal life. It is more important to fear the evil one who is capable of destroying the person completely in the afterlife. He assured them further how God sees the inestimable value of their life in comparison with that of the sparrow. God’s care for the elect far surpasses any concern of his for his other creatures (vv29-30; 6:25-34). Finally, Jesus reminded them that earthly profession merits heavenly commendation and that earthly denial will result in heavenly condemnation (vv32-33).

In John, Jesus predicted that “…in the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world”, (16:33). Earlier, people appointed by God like Jeremiah, faced serious threats to their life because of their mission. But the prophet remains confident of God’s power and will to save him, saying: “..the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion, my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail…”,(20:11). Jesus promised the same for us. Fear not and take courage, therefore, in the face of any human threat. Amen.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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