Living Christianity’s great adventure

| Deacon Stephen Najarian | June 22, 2017 | 0 Comments


Editor’s note: With this issue, The Catholic Spirit begins featuring Scripture reflections from permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

When I was just a little kid, I had a near–drowning experience, and although I now love being around water, I still feel uncomfortable being in over my head.

All of us have fears. It might be the fear of heights or the fear of flying, the fear of failure, of humiliation, or the fear of not being liked and accepted. Perhaps we fear the loss of our health or fear suffering and death. Hopefully, we all fear sin and losing God’s grace.

In the Gospel for June 25, we hear Jesus tell his Apostles and us three times: “Fear not … don’t be afraid.” This Gospel passage is taken from the long pep talk Jesus gave the Twelve Apostles just before sending them out on their first mission trip. He knew they would face challenges and obstacles, and he wanted to encourage them. They had not been following Jesus all that long. And although they were captivated by his miracles and the stirring word of his Sermon on the Mount, they were clueless as to what awaited Jesus and them in the next few years.

This same Jesus is alive and present in our world today and is here with us now, still preparing us, encouraging us, telling us to not be afraid. He knows that we, like the apostles, face challenges and obstacles in following him faithfully. Of course, we have to deal with our own internal obstacles, like our pride, rebellion, selfishness and love of comfort. But we also face increasing challenges from our surrounding culture.

Throughout her history, the Church has flourished from the blood — the heroic witness — of the martyrs. That same witness is needed today. For most of us, this won’t mean shedding our blood for Christ, but it does mean defending him and his Church on the great moral questions of our day during discussions at school, work or social gatherings, never in an argumentative or arrogant way, but with a calm confidence and courage based on the truth.

Jesus said, “Fear no one. … Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. … Do not be afraid.”

We are living in exciting and challenging times — times that call for courage, boldness, greatness of character, nobility of virtue and most of all, holiness. With each other’s help and example, along with the presence and power of Jesus, we leave Mass grateful for the great privilege of being a Catholic — joyful to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and ready to take up the great adventure of being a Christian.

Deacon Najarian was ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2003 and has served at St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony since then. He also teaches pastoral theology, the sacrament of marriage and biomedical ethics at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

Sunday, June 25
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time


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Category: Sunday Scriptures