June 25th 2023 12th Sunday Year A


‘The one who disowns me in the presence of men I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven’

‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it’, according to Nelson Mandela. It is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, perhaps the most important. It is a heart word. The root of the word courage is ‘cor’, the Latin word for heart. Jesus asks us today not to lose heart in our efforts to witness to Him in a world that is increasingly hostile to His word. In this hostile environment, there is great temptation for the follower of Jesus to ‘blend-in’ and remain silent when he/she should speak out. Some years ago, a well-known Christian proclaimed in interview that he was a Christian but ‘not offensively so’. The follower of Jesus, however, must be prepared to disturb the peace at times, to take a stand for what is right, to show which side he/she is on. ‘A story that must be told never forgives silence’. It is probably true to say that more people deny Jesus Christ by cowardly silence than by deliberate words. We are not called to be conformed to the world but rather, to transform it. Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision.

—————————————————- Courage and fear are brothers

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union (1958-1964) Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin at a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a heckler in the audience who shouted, ‘You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him’? ‘Who said that?’, roared Khrushchev. An agonising silence followed as no one in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, ‘Now you know why’.