Jesus commands His Apostles to be unafraid to proclaim the Gospel and warns of God’s punishment to those who deny Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by fearing Hell and seeking the Gift of the Fear of the Lord and by building the Virtue of Obedience so he can diligently strive to prepare for his own personal Judgment. 

Liturgy

12th Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 10:26-33

Commentary

After charging the Apostles with the mission to evangelize surrounding towns and warning them of the persecutions that come with proclaiming the Gospel, Jesus continues with His Missionary Sermon (Mt 10), reinforcing the reality of persecution and promising God will remember and protect the Apostles when they imitate Jesus and zealously and courageously proclaim the Gospel. 

Jesus reiterates that, like Him, the Apostles will face persecution (Mt 10:24-25). He reminds them He is the “teacher” and “master” and they are His “disciples” and “slaves.” The Apostles, like every man who wishes to be a disciple, must first humbly lower himself in faith to Jesus in order to become like Him. Because Jesus, the Master, was rejected and demonized, so too will the disciples, the slaves of the Master, be rejected and demonized. 

Jesus promises the disciples the fullness of the Gospel will be revealed and they must publicly and persistently proclaim the Gospel despite persecution. Rather than fear persecution, Jesus warns men to fear God, who has dominion over Heaven and Hell, and can “destroy both soul and body in Hell.” Jesus promises the Father knows each disciple personally and will deliver them in the end. Ominously, Jesus warns men who wish for salvation must publicly,“before men”, acknowledge Him; those who deny Him are doomed for Jesus will deny the deniers before the Father in Heaven. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

In contrast to the soft and weakly permissive Jesus so often portrayed, consider with holy fear, Jesus, the intensely demanding Divine King, as He aggressively commands His Apostles to take heroic action to evangelize the world: He bluntly and clearly asserts His Divine Authority (the Master) and the subservience of the Apostles (slaves); He commands them, despite the coming persecution, they are to proclaim His Gospel publicly without reservation; He Harshly Warns them that if they are cowardly and fail, He, the Divine Judge, will deny them before His Father and they could be destroyed in Hell.

Fear Hell and Fear the Lord

Realize: Despite Jesus’ clear teaching on the torments and eternal suffering of Hell, many Catholic men don’t believe in Hell, ignore the reality of Hell, or falsely presume they will avoid Hell even if they ignore God; every Catholic man must confront the truth that Hell is a real possibility for them personally and take all possible steps to protect himself and his family from the fires of Hell. 

Believe: Reflect upon Hell (CCC 1033-1037).

Pray: Holy Spirit, help me to understand and fear the horrors of Hell, and give me the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so I recognize my sinfulness and spiritual poverty, I understand my desperate need for Christ to save me, I abhor disappointing God in any way, and I constantly seek God’s help to become more holy.

Obediently strive to prepare for Judgment

Realize: Every soul’s eternal destiny is determined by Jesus in the Judgment, whether they know and accept His absolute dominion over their fate or not; at the point of death, the reality of Jesus’ Divine Power as Judge over every man’s eternal fate will be made clear and those who die in mortal sin will be justly condemned to Hell by Him. 

Believe: Reflect upon Mortal and Venial Sin (CCC 1849-1876) and Judgment (CCC 677-679, 1020-1022, 1038-1041).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Judge, help me build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I humbly and obediently place my whole life under Your command and I strive to live a life of holiness so I am always prepared to meet You in my Judgment.