A Message from Father William

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 10:26-33), Jesus Christ tells the Twelve Apostles to “fear no one.” He instructs them to “speak in the light” and to acknowledge Him as the Only Savior of the world and proclaim Him from the housetops! To do so, we cannot be afraid to open our life completely in word and deed to Christ, to be instruments of His love and mercy. Thus, when Pope Saint John Paul II began his ministry in Saint Peter’s Square in October 1978, his main words were “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!” Today, as much as ever, the world needs our witness to this lifeaffirming, peaceful message of the Gospel.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said that Saint John Paul II was also addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let Him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free. And Jesus would, Pope Benedict said (April 24, 2005), He would certainly take away their corruption, their attempts to control people’s lives, their dictatorship of relativism, but Jesus “would not have taken away anything that pertains to human freedom or dignity, or to the building of a just society.”

“The Pope was also speaking to everyone, especially the young,” Pope Benedict said. “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way?,” he asked. “If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find True Life. Amen.”

At World Youth Day in July 2013, just months after becoming the 265th Successor to Saint Peter, Pope Francis encouraged millions of young people gathered in Rio de Janeiro to “Go, do not be afraid, and serve.” He challenged them to witness to the faith so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ. Go, he said, and proclaim Jesus in your daily words and deeds, in selfless, self-giving love, opening wide the doors for Christ, and do not be afraid, because Jesus never leaves you alone, He is with you always. Likewise, in his evangelical initiative, Bishop Donald J. Hying encourages us to give ourselves to Jesus Christ, to “go make disciples” (Matthew 28), by God’s grace, keeping holy the Lord’s Day, getting to Confession, praying every day, and doing works of selfless love, to open wide the doors to Christ and find True Life!

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William Vernon