This seems to be the leitmotif of God’s message to His people throughout scriptures. This was, definitely a constant theme in Jesus’ meetings with his disciples after his resurrection from the dead. It seems that God knows that fear paralyzes us. Moved by fear, we cannot do much good in life. Moreover, God constantly wants to remind and assure us that, if we are united with Him, there is no real need to be afraid. There will be difficulties in life. Problems and crises are part of the life of each and everyone of us. But the good news is that He is stronger than any of these.
This theme introduces for us the gospel of today. Not only. The prelude to today’s gospel helps us understand who we are, and gives us a reason why we should not be afraid: “Do not be afraid little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”.
“Do not be afraid little flock.” This is how Jesus addresses us. Little flock. For Jesus it’s the quality that counts, rather than the quantity. So, a first question I can ask myself today is, “Am I part of this little flock?” As Jesus journeys towards Jerusalem, he is continuously helping us understand who we are as his disciples. It is not just a matter of once having had my name inserted in the parish’s baptismal records. How am I living my life? Jesus is realistic. He is aware that those who are true followers of his are not the majority. Our numbers might be small. Our journey might be against the mainstream current around us. But this is no reason to be afraid. Then he tells us why.
It is the Father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom. Being part of God’s kingdom, not after death, but in the here and now. He only urges us to stay focused, to keep our minds set on what really matters. Again, this is a theme revisited during these last few weeks: Mary’s choice as compared to that of her sister Martha, or the foolishness of the rich man who was more concerned about amassing his profits here on earth than anything else.
Jesus can visit us any time. So, it’s important that we are always ready to greet him when he visits, dressed for action, with our lamps lit. Again, it is not necessarily at the moment of death that Jesus visits us. He constantly knocks on the doors of our lives telling us that the spouse is here, inviting us to join him into his banquet-hall, to leave behind us that which is not really important to embrace what is of His Kingdom. Am I ready to greet him when he knocks, to change direction if he asks me to do so, to embrace the Kingdom of Love?
“Do not be afraid” is the refrain that keeps echoing in our minds as we journey with Jesus. Changing direction, letting go of that which gives us security or comfort, can be difficult and also scary. But, really, there is no need to be afraid. If we are ready, if we recognize him and welcome him, he will “come and serve us”. What could be more comforting that that?