In the Old Testament vocation accounts, God always intervenes in the life of those He is about to call with these words: “fear not, do not be afraid.”
There is no shortage of reasons to be afraid.
Sometimes, the chosen ones will have to face strong and violent enemies, endowed with great means. At other times, the enemy they must face will be among their very own people, that hard core that does not want to listen to the words of the Lord, that presumes to know, alone, where to find allies and salvation.
And so, the prophets will be, some more and some less, opposed, often derided, sometimes imprisoned, sometimes, put to death. That is the destiny of the prophet, of the witness, of the one who stands among all the others with an upright heart, turned to the Lord.
But how can a simple man carry the weight of this loneliness, at times throughout his life?
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 10:26-33) speaks to us about this.
And it tells us that the witness lives in misunderstanding and solitude, free from fear. And this for, at least, three reasons.
The first is that the witness is not the master of the announcement he brings but is just a servant.
The word that he proclaims is a word that he listened to first, that changed his life, and that now he transmits to others. But it is a word that has its own strength, vitality, just like a seed.
And, like a seed, it has the strength within it to reveal itself, to increase, manifest itself.
The witness is only a servant, who sows everywhere this Word that is not his, and whose strength and vitality he can only attest.
The second is that if it is true that the witness is not the master of the word he proclaims, it is also true that no one is master of the life of the witness, no one has ultimate power over his life. One can kill him (Mt 10:28) but does not have the power to kill his soul, cannot take away the Spirit from him.
The third is that the witness’ life belongs to Someone who cares for it, cares about it, who knows his life down to the smallest detail (Mt 10:30) and will not allow his life to be lost into thin air.
The witness will first announce this: he will say with his life the trust that binds him to the One who cares for him as a good father.
His testimony will be more effective the more his heart is free from fear, the more he knows how to live in a relationship that keeps him alive, even in adverse events, of which there will be no shortage.
This Gospel passage concerns every baptized person, every believer.
We are all called to announce everywhere, to everyone what Jesus said in His time.
And no one will be spared the experience that has accompanied all the prophets, that of misunderstanding and loneliness.
Yet, precisely that will be the most authentic area of testimony, the one in which one perseveres not by his own strength, but thanks to a bond of love that represents the only true security, the one that does not fail.