This Sunday is the second Sunday of Easter. It is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, instituted by then Pope John Paul II, who will be canonized on Sunday. I remembered a post I wrote this time last year, echoing the words of the soon to be saint that we still hear today: be not afraid! Here is that post:
I was attending an event whose speaker was Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (Archdiocese of Louisville, now president of the USCCB). After speaking about popes and more specifically Pope Francis, there was a Q&A session filled with a variety of questions from the audience, some wanting to learn more about him, others about Catholic teaching, a few about past popes, yet one in particular stood out to me from the rest:
What do you believe to be the biggest threat to the Catholic Church today?
Without hesitation, he said, “Revelation 2:10.” Everyone immediately became quiet. He said again, “Revelation 2:10. What does it say?” Everyone just looked around for an answer and one person in the crowd quietly said, “I have it here on my phone.” That Scripture passage states:
“Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Kurtz said, “Let me tell you what that says.” Now paraphrasing his answer he exclaimed do not be afraid to be yourself, to be Catholic. Do not be afraid to stand up for our teachings. Do not be afraid to be a voice for the Lord. Do not be afraid to be the voice for those who are persecuted or less fortunate. We are tested by the devil every day and when we let fear keep us from our faith, from being ourselves, it is at that moment that evil has won. That is the biggest threat to our Church today.
***God Bless & Happy Easter! ***
featured image: Ken Wolter/ shutterstock.com