Fear doesn’t have to control us because God cares enough to stand by us through it all. That’s the good news from this week’s Gospel.
Early Christians also struggled with fear. Remember, they were Jewish and saw Jesus as the fulfilment of all Jewish hopes. That belief put them in conflict with other Jews, who eventually kicked those early Christians out of their communities. Read the Acts of the Apostles of Paul’s letters. You’ll find some hair-raising stories about the persecutions they faced.
Nonetheless, they persevered. They believed that Jesus’ teachings helped them grow closer to God. So they developed strong worship lives that soothed and strengthened their souls. They devoted themselves to helping one another. All this, they found, brought them God’s strength – strength that helped them face rejection and brutality.
That strength can be yours. Call upon it. It’s scary to risk your popularity, to challenge bullies, to stand against bigotry and dishonesty, and to stand up for the little ones and those who live on the margins. You are likely to face rejection and maybe even physical attack. But you build so much character when you take those risks. Those risks strengthen your character.
Follow the example of those early Christians. Make Mass and acts of justice and service important in your life. They will protect your soul and calm your fears. You will find, as Jesus says, that God watches you closely, always looking for ways to help you out.

Excerpt from Gospel Connection of GPBS available at