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Father Muench Says...

Becoming a bold disciple of Jesus

July 19, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

On the Fourth of July, I walked down in the evening to watch the fireworks. I discovered that people-watching was an interesting part of the experience. When the fireworks did begin, I ended up standing near a father who was corralling two little ones.  After a few minutes into the fireworks I overheard this fellow’s three-year-old son say to him “Dad, I am not afraid at all.”

We all have various ways of dealing with the fears of life.  I am certain that Jesus must have noticed this about us humans – our various fears.

He certainly wanted to make us realize that God the Father is deeply concerned for us and wants to support us in our fears.  The Gospels tells us that Jesus often assured his disciples  “Do not be afraid.”

Matthew’s Gospel tells us the story of the time the apostles were in a boat by themselves during a storm and Jesus came toward them walking on the water.  We are told that the disciples thought it was a ghost and were terrified.  Jesus shouts out to them, “Get hold of yourself! It is I.  Do not be afraid.”

How many times has Jesus come to me and you during times of personal storms to calm us and support us in our fear.  We have only to recognize him and call to him.

I now remember that on a recent Sunday, one of the hymns chosen for Mass was, “Be Not Afraid.”  You have heard it often.  In that same Mass, the Scriptures reminded us that we can trust Jesus to support us and protect us in times of fear.

I would like to suggest here that often our fears are what keep us from being good, bold and brave enough to live well as disciples of Jesus. 

Our Lord wants to remove all those fears from our hearts, and banish all that may keep us from bringing the love and peace of God to this moment.

Today, I want to emphasize our call to become a bold disciple of the Lord.  This means that we must be courageous and unafraid to live well and bring Christ’s message of love and peace to all that we do.

Pope Francis challenges us all –  to be as disciples of Jesus, disciples who live our call without fear recognizing that Jesus will support us. St. Paul recognized the importance for the Church of the many men and women who live as disciples of the Lord Jesus.

He prays in gratitude in Ephesians 1:15 – “For my part, from the time I first heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the members of the Church, I have never stopped thanking God for you and recommending you in my prayers.”  This is a prayer for us also.

So, I join St. Paul in gratitude to God for you, the many men and women of our parishes today, who are truly bold and unafraid disciples of the Lord.  May you all truly recognize the Spirit of our Lord constantly supporting you in your efforts to making your parish alive in the Lord. 

We are all challenged to make our Catholic Church and our own parishes alive as bold disciples of the Lord.

I was truly impressed with the large number of men and women who gave two years of study in the Formation of Ministry Program.  They are now commissioned by Bishop LaValley as active disciples in parish ministry.  These folks are important to the life of each of our parishes and to the life of our diocese as bold disciples of Jesus.
However once more I want to remind you all that each and every one of you is called through your Baptism to be a good disciple – unafraid to live out your faith and bringing the Lord Jesus into all that you do.

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