Fear No One.
Tom Brown’s School Days is the story of an English boys’ school. A new boy had come to the school. Before he lay down in bed the first night, he knelt to say his prayers.
The other boys made fun of him and threw a shoe at him striking him in the head, and they laughed at him.
Among the other boys was a boy named Tom Brown who the other boys admired. Having witnessed the ridicule of the new boy, Tom Brown could not sleep that night.
He kept thinking of his mother and prayers she had taught him, prayers he had not said since coming to that school.
The following night, when the new boy knelt to pray, Tom Brown also knelt to pray with him. The other boys were looking forward to making fun of the newcomer again, but when they saw Tom on his knees beside his bed, there was respectful silence.
The courage of the newcomer and the courage of Tom Brown won them the respect and admiration of the entire school.
That is an example of what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel. Three times Our Lord tells the apostles and you and me: Fear no one, and do not be afraid.
He is not talking about fear in general. He is speaking about that particular kind of fear a Catholic feels when called upon to say something or do something that shows he or she is a follower of Christ. How often do we hesitate pray in public and begin by boldly making the sign of the cross. How often do we cower and fail to ask someone if we can pray for them right then and there, and then do so, publicly and out loud?
How often do we fail to speak the Christ-like word, to do the Christ-like thing, because we are afraid of the smirks and sneers of others, afraid of being called a “goodie-goodie” or a “a holy Joe, or holy Jane” afraid of some physical abuse like a shoe flying at our head.
Jesus did not say there would be no reason to fear. He knew some people would make fun of his followers.
He knew, and knows, there would be danger of losing friends, danger of losing a job, losing a promotion, that millions of his followers would be put to death rather than deny their faith in him.
Are we afraid to change the subject when someone brings up a juicy piece of gossip or some dirty story, afraid to say no to friends about watching some movie that you know you should not be watching. Are we afraid to say no to try a drug, afraid to refuse the drink that would be too much for us.
When your companion makes impure suggestions or advances are you afraid of losing her or his friendship by refusing? Are you afraid of losing a friendship for standing up for what the Church teaches concerning morals, sexual ethics, and the current Alphabet soup lie that boys are girls and girls are boys and that one can decide if one has no gender?
When the Church Christ founded is unjustly attacked, when Christ’s teachings are ridiculed, in the classroom, drug store, in the office, in the factory, in social media, do you remember to fear no one and to speak up for your faith? I am sure you can think of many other situations in your life where you need to remember those words. Fear no one.
Look at this positively. Christ promises us today: Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” On the other hand: Deny Christ and he will deny you.