In the First Reading we see how Paul was persecuted: stoned, dragged out of the city presumed to be dead. In spite of these, St Paul and Barnabas continued to proclaim the Gospel even saying: It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God. This confirms what Jesus said in the Gospel, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Troubles will come and are to be expected. Sometimes troubles come and things happen that are beyond our control. But Jesus gives two commands:
- Do not let your hearts be troubled. We are not to be distressed. We are not to be running around to find consolation in things because Jesus is the only One who can give us his peace. This is a peace no one can give because Jesus is the only One who can give peace.
- Do not let them be afraid. We are not to be afraid. It is natural to fear. But the fear referred in scripture is not being afraid. It is to be overwhelmed with terror that we freeze and cannot do anything. The presence of fear is not an indication of lack of faith. Faith is not the absence of fear. It is confidence in the power of God that makes us go beyond fear to trust God and do what he wants.
Our faith conquers fears, persecution and difficulties. 1 John 5:4 tells us: For whatsoever is born of God, overcomes the world: and this is the victory which overcomes the world, our faith. In the midst of difficulties, of uncertainties, of fear, we trust in Jesus. And this trust is the result of the peace that only he can give.
Lord Jesus, I trust in you.