God watches over us
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (Matthew 10:26-33)
June 25, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
IT’S a tough job to be a prophet. It was never easy. Those chosen for this mission often realize it only later in their life. Sometimes God seems to leave the prophet on his own, right when the danger is greater. That’s the moment when the faithfulness of the prophet is tested.
Moses experienced those difficult moments. So did Jeremiah and the author of Psalm 22 – the psalm Jesus chose to recite during his agony on the cross. This shows that Jesus also experienced the “absence” of God during the most critical moments of his earthly life.
But every real prophet, deep in his heart, knows that God is not absent. He does not abandon those He has chosen and sent, provided they put all their trust in Him. In His own time and in ways that He alone knows, God does reveal his reassuring, consoling, strengthening and saving presence. And through His unfailing grace He brings victory both over the external enemies and the internal weakness of the persecuted prophet.
All Christians are called to share in the prophetic role of Christ. They are called to be “prophets of God” in their own time and society. This may occasionally entail sharing in Jesus’ suffering and persecution for the sake of the Kingdom, for no disciple is greater than the teacher, as he himself said. (See Mt. 10:24.)
“Be not afraid!” said Jesus to his disciples in today’s passage, and on several other occasions. (See Lk 5:10 and Mk 4:40.) “Be not afraid!” says the refrain of the popular song quoted in today’s introduction to the theme. But how can’t we be afraid when we see violent people who terrorize entire nations with weapons of mass destruction, which can be unleashed in their fits of madness and hatred? How can’t we be afraid at the remembrance of the Nazi extermination camps and Pol Pot’s “killing fields”–origins of man’s inhumanity to man–which can happen again at any time? . . .
But even when faced with the constant danger or threat of universal annihilation, FAITH in an all powerful and loving God is what makes all the difference. The unbeliever sees only the “human factors” and can only tremble and despair. The man of faith sees also God as part of the equation. And this is the decisive factor that inflicts in him/her courage and hope. And that’s why was also the message the Holy Father John Paul II kept repeating to all men of goodwill: “Be not afraid!” And the only reason for this encouragement is that “God is watching” over us. We are under His powerful and paternal protection.
No one should be frightened by sad prospects and threats, as if we were left to ourselves. God our Father will never abandon His children in the power of their enemies. And even when He allows their bodies to be destroyed, He still has the whole eternity to reward those who have remained faithful unto death.