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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Our Lady of Victory
490 Charles Street
Gatineau, Québec
J8L 2K5

Mass:     Sunday   9:00 AM
            Thursday 10:00 AM

St. Malachy
3889 Route 315
Mayo, Québec
J8L 3Z8

Mass: Saturday 7:00 PM





Fr. Albanus’ Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy

Do not be Afraid!
Today’s Sunday readings invite us to preach Christ through our words and lives without fear. When push comes to shove, they say, people react differently. The first reading tells us that the prophet Jeremiah refuses to be intimidated but rather trusts in the power of God while he faces opposition for his prophetic ministry. As a prophet, he has no intention of allowing terror to write his script and dictate who he is. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 69) echoes the same trust in the kindness and great mercy of God when the psalmist is misunderstood and ill-treated even by his brothers and relatives. In the second reading, Paul assures the Christians in Rome that they need not be afraid of opposition both because they share in the death of Jesus and His Resurrection and because they are united with Christ, the new Adam, in His Resurrection.

In the Gospel written about fifty years after Christ's death, Matthew encourages persecuted Christians stating that the Master has foreseen what would happen. It is the end of Jesus’ instruction to His disciples as He sends them forth to carry on His mission of preaching and healing. He asks them to live simply and to expect opposition and rejection. After having predicted future opposition and persecution, Jesus encourages the disciples to stand firm. Three times Jesus urges them; “Do not be afraid.” He gives three reasons why His apostles, and we, should not be frightened. The first reason is that opponents will not be able to prevent Jesus' followers from succeeding in their mission because God will expose their evil plans and deeds: "nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered." The Lord "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness" (1 Cor 4:5), and will vindicate the faithful. The second reason not to be afraid is the limited power of our opponents. They can kill the body, which dies all too soon anyway, but have no power over the soul. Only God has power over eternity. The Father cares deeply for the true disciple.

The Gospel identifies two fears that the apostles had: fear of false accusation and conviction and fear of bodily harm and death. Jesus states: "There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed and nothing secret that will not be made known," This is not a threat that God will expose some sin we had forgotten. Jesus speaks these words as Good News, as a reason not to be afraid of persecution. These verses promise that the evil motives and the wickedness of the persecutors will someday become a matter of public knowledge. The third reason we should not be afraid is God's compassionate love. We are more important to God than sparrows. Matthew speaks of two sparrows sold for one penny. The God who cares for a trivial bird like the sparrow also cares about our smallest problems – even the hairs on our heads are counted. While this is an encouraging assurance, it may be difficult to believe in the midst of persecution. But God knows everything that we go through – nothing that happens to us escapes Him.

Brothers and sisters, the challenge to confess the name of Jesus is one that is issued to every generation and every Christian. Our real worth (as against the sparrows) before God is more powerful force than our real fear of our persecutors. That sense of worth can out distance the hate of all our persecutors. That is why Jeremiah and Jesus and Christian martyrs can face the persecutors with awesome courage. They all know that their true worth can never be killed. God’s everlasting love is the one real offer they cannot refuse. Sometimes we are afraid that we will make a wrong decision. At other times, we are afraid of what others will think when we speak up for Jesus. We are afraid of what the future will bring our children. We are also afraid of growing old. Sometimes we are afraid of what bad health will bring us. At the root of these fears is the fear of loss. Every fear we have is grounded in the knowledge that we have something or someone to lose. I can lose my job, family, house, money, health and even life itself. Rejection and loss are the basis of our fears. But we forget one thing: whatever trouble or crisis affects us, we know that God understands it better than we ourselves do. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what is happening. What a release from fear it is to know that God is on our side; that our life is in the hands of a loving God. The next time fear grips our life we need to remember that being faithful to Christ wherever we meet Him in this life is much more important than our fear of rejection and loss. Fear of persecution is the worst possible enemy of anyone who wants to announce the Gospel and tell the truth.

Happy Sunday!


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490 Charles Street • Gatineau • Québec • J8L 2K5
Telephone: (819) 986-3763
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