Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Be Not Afraid of Them. 12th Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year A



Sunday Breakfast with the Word 12th Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year A

Be Not Afraid of Them.

Jeremiah 20:10-13, 2, Romans 5:12-1Matthew 10:26-33



There are times in life when we face circumstances and it looks as if everything is just against us. Some of these create fear, hopelessness and negativity in us. Sometimes at this point, we lose hope and faith in God. 

Many darkest moments and circumstances sometimes plunge us into fear either because of the uncertainty of the future or because we always conclude that we can never win the battle at hand.

 Today, we have a lot of battles both physical and spiritual going on in our lives, but sometimes we think that the oppositions are far greater than we are. 

Many people today are dying in secret, and some are undergoing different types of persecution. Some people even see evil and cover it, not because they like what is happening but because they see themselves as weak and powerless in the face of evil. 

In the gospel today, Jesus says, “Be not afraid of them”. Hence, when we face certain circumstances, we allow fear to rule and overcome the power of faith in us. 

Our reasoning goes to sleep because of fear. Fear cripples vision, progress, power, will, and willingness to solve a particular need. 

When we want to do that, we are often faced with obstacles, and then because of the fear of those obstacles, we lose faith, stop working and prefer to remain where we are. 

When Jesus says “Be not afraid of them”, it involves whatever stands in our way. Sometimes it is not that God does not answer our prayers, but the fear of the unknown keeps us where we are.

 It is fear that makes many who are supposed to fight against evil remain mute. They prefer to play safe than to challenge evil. 

 Today, we are more interested in protecting ourselves than criticizing evil. Fear has led many to bury their mission on earth because they are afraid of criticism, afraid of what people will say, and afraid of people who might attack them. 

Jesus understands perfectly the power of fear, and that is the reason, He does not for once in the bible tell anyone to fear problems or circumstances, never for once is it in the Bible. Let us gradually interpret today’s readings. 


Jeremiah’s Laments and Strength.


In the first reading, we see how Jeremiah laments about those who want to pull him down. 

Jeremiah laments that there is evil from every side because some of those who used to be his friends are planning secretly for his downfall. 

They are convincing people to denounce Jeremiah and whatever He says. Jeremiah laments that this is like a terror from every side. They seem to be threatening and terrorizing him, seducing him to error. 


I. What Truly Happened.


To understand the first reading very well, let us begin with verse one of Jeremiah 20. 

The situation is that the priest Pashhur had Jeremiah beaten and imprisoned because He heard him prophesying. 


He allowed Jeremiah to stay in prison a whole full day. The next day, when Pashhur released him, Jeremiah stood before his face and prophesied doom for him and his family. Then in verse 7, of this chapter, we see Jeremiah in tears and laments. 


According to Jeremiah, God deceived him by allowing Him to pass through a series of troubles.

Jeremiah cried that instead of peace, the word of the Lord has brought insult and reproach all day long”. (Jeremiah 20:8). Then, comes verses 10 to 13 of today’s first reading, where Jeremiah accuses some of His close friends of planning evil against him and trying to bring him down. 


When you read further after today’s reading, from verses 14-18, you will discover that Jeremiah even cursed and regretted ever being born. This is exactly what we do in the midst of troubles and distress. 

This is sometimes our attitude when we face opposition and think God has forsaken us.

Before chapter twenty of Jermaiah which is today’s reading and after it, we shall discover that this time was not easy for Jeremiah. He faced a lot of difficulties. The examples are:

a.Some of the people at this time threatened Jeremiah with death (11:18-23). 

b.He also contends with lying prophets (14:13-14). 

c. Hananiah publicly opposed Jeremiah (28:1-17). 

d. He suffered through a siege with his people (32:1-15).

e. Even court officials put him in a muddy but waterless cistern (38:1-6). And many more. 

Hence, at the beginning of this chapter twenty which is today’s reading, we will see how the priest, Pashur, struck Jeremiah and put him in prison (Jeremiah 20:1-2). 

All these pushed Jeremiah to lament. He expressed his frustrations to God. Though in today’s readings, Jeremiah still showed signs that He never lost hope in God. He did not also quit his mission.

 In verse 11, he demonstrated that despite the hard circumstances, God is still with Him like a mighty warrior and has committed His cause in the hands of God, because of that he remains strong and undefeated. 

 Just like David who told Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, “This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17: 46-47), Jeremiah shows that His faith is still in God despite whatever comes against Him. 


Jeremiah is not afraid of them. He is not afraid of whatever comes against Him because He believes that God is still with Him in times of trouble.

Jeremiah teaches that the times of trouble do not mean that God is no longer with us. Rather, the times of trouble should be a time to keep our faith firmly in God. 

Our battle belongs to God. Despite the persecutions Jeremiah faced, the persecutors did not prevail over Jeremiah.

During the time of Daniel, it was the same. Despite the attacks against Daniel, He was victorious.  

During the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Jews tried many times to arrest Him before his time but they could not (John 10:39, John 7:30, Matthew 21:46) until the appointed time. 

We can make our own plans, but it is still God who gives the final answer. (Proverbs 16:1). Our victory will always come from Him.


Live in the Lord, Not in the fear of Them.


It is always easy to fear in the face of opposition and challenges. It is always very easy to lose faith in God. Fear in the face of persecution is natural, but in today’s gospel Jesus gives reasons not to fear:


1. The first reason not to fear is that despite how people try to hide their truest intentions and evil schemes, God sees and searches our innermost hearts. He knows the plans of the enemy. 


If we are strong in the Lord, we have also to know that when plans are done at our back and against us, God knows all of them.

In the gospel, Jesus says, “for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known”.


Therefore, evil people may plan in secret and at night against you. They will go a long way to hide their deeds. They might conspire and hide their plans, but God also promises that He will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness” (1 Corinthians 4:5).


The power of God will never allow the darkness to prevail over the light and will never allow those who believe in Him to be put to shame (Psalm 25:3, Romans 10:11).


2. In the gospel, Jesus tells His disciples “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops”.


We know very well that a person standing on a housetop can be seen and heard by all. Jesus calls us to touch souls without fear of anyone, without fear of persecution and opposition. 


He wants us to preach His word and stand always on the truth anywhere. Jesus calls us not for us to stay inside our rooms and boards, hiding and afraid of them. We are afraid of what people will say, those who may insult us and many who will attack us. 



Today, many Christians are afraid to defend their faith. Some will in the face of arguments deny their belief.

Some Christians will, in the face of challenging times, lose faith in God, while many in the face of people we see as stronger oppositions, surrender and fear that we may be persecuted. 


To be a disciple of Jesus is to stand strong in the face of opposition because we are not alone. Preach and teach boldly, correct peacefully and wisely, and give correct judgements without fear or favour. This is what distinguishes us from the world.


3. Another reason not to fear is because of the limited power of our opponents. Jesus says in the gospel that they might have power over the body but not over the soul. Only God is supreme and has power over all things. 


They may think they are winning in the long run but victory belongs to God (psalms 3:8). There is no wisdom, no understanding, no counsel that can prevail against the Lord. 

God says that the horse may be made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord always. (Proverbs 21:30-31).

 David knows this principle. That is the reason, despite all the evil schemes by Saul to get him killed and captured, were fruitless.

 In Psalm 20:7, David bemoans those who trust in chariots and horses. For victory only comes from the Lord. 


Today, Jesus says “Do not fear those who can only kill the body but not the soul” but today we do the opposite. Jesus is emphasising those who can manipulate only the physical but not the spiritual. 


Our fear should be on the One who sees in secret. Our greatest respect should be for the one who has every power over us, and the one who has power over the spiritual and the physical.


Fear is the Greatest Enemy of Success.


There is a story of a well-known criminal who committed a crime that their town detests. According to the law guiding that town, anybody that commits this crime will be punished severely. 


So, when the criminal was sent to the King for his punishment. The King told him that he had a choice of two punishments. It is either He allows himself to be flogged severely and imprisoned for two years or He enters into the big, dark and mysterious room, where a kind of terror music is playing. 


The King shouted so hard, that it is either He enters that big room or He will face severe punishment. The criminal out of fear, accepted to be flogged severely and imprisoned for two years instead of the dark room, where a kind of music is playing and he does not even know what is happening there. 


The King asked him several times to choose, He still chose to be punished instead of entering a dark room that He knows nothing inside. The King laughed at him and said to Him:


“Sincerely, there is nothing scary inside that dark room. In the room, there is well-prepared food, a bed to sleep and good music that will play for him. The room was just made dark to put fear in the minds of criminals and up till the moment, no person has dared to enter inside the room. Anyone who dares to enter will only regain freedom, eat good food and rest but nobody did”


This is how life is. Many people are afraid of something or somebody because of what they heard or told about the thing or the person. 


So, many people today are blessed but they are caged by fear to come out of their shells. Fear is the greatest enemy that limits many potentials.

It cages you to think that inside that dark room of your destiny, the unknown of your life, there is something that will attack or pull you down. 


Fear will convince you that you can never make it in life. Fear will convince you that one evil man has one mysterious power to attack you. Then it will force you to live in fear. The power of fear is so great that it can stop you from coming out of your comfort zone.


Fear will always keep you to the ground and make you think that life beyond the place you are now is full of terror.

One saint says “that sometimes the cave we fear to enter lies the answer to our prayers”.

 When God answers your prayers, the next mountain you must decide to conquer is the mountain of fear. This is actually the mountain making you think that God has not answered you because you think you are not able and capable of doing what He asks you to do.


Fear will cripple you and make you believe that somebody is holding your destiny or someone is the reason behind your setback. 


It is this mountain that makes you slack behind when God puts a dream in your heart. This is the mountain making you afraid of teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond where you are because you are afraid of insults, persecutions and what people may say. 


Be not afraid of them should be a guide for every serious and well-meaning Christian. Be not afraid of them when they come to attack you, it is the victory that will prove to You how God has been saving you.


Also, be not afraid of them when they try to pull you down. Sometimes in trying to pull you down, they announce you to the world. 


Always be not afraid of them. Be not afraid of them when they plan any evil scheme against you. There is always a victory for all who are in Christ Jesus. 

Be not afraid of them whenever you want to show the world your gift or talent. The more you allow fear to hold you down, the more you miss so many great opportunities. 

Fear is the greatest enemy of humanity that must be put to death. Rise above your fear, and you will see yourself at the top. 




1. The readings of today teach us what we can do in the midst of fear and hard situations. When Jesus says “Be not afraid of them’, remember that he is not only referring to your enemies, “them” simply means “not you”. 

Be not afraid of anything outside you. It could be somebody, it could be problems and circumstances. It could be an obstacle. Jesus says “Be not afraid of them.”


b. What we do not understand is that fear is what stands between victory and defeat. 

Fear does not exist on its own, it must come from the person. So, fear is not an existing reality nor in that external circumstance, the fear is coming from you.

 To go out and win souls, and win victory, we must remove the fear just like David teaches the Israelites in 1 Samuel 17. What we owe people is respect, not fear.



2. It is quite sad that many people today who seem to be the promoters of justice are the ones demoting it. 

It is quite disheartening that many of us fear being criticised. We fear to say whether this is evil or not. We fear to call a spade, a spade because of fear.

Many people today close their mouths to speak out against evil because they know they are gaining from it. Yet we are Christians. 

I am always sad when people say that Christianity is their problem, and forget that Christianity promotes peace, progress, unity, and relationship with God, because life here is nothing but temporary. 

The truth is that we are the problem to ourselves. In the face of evil, we close our mouths because we do not want to offend anyone. Today, also we have become a wolf to ourselves.



3. Many people today fear men more than they fear God. Many respect their leaders and eat hook and sinker, both good and bad, he purges out of his mouth but can never respect any statement from the bible. 

They do this because of fear or because of a certain favour they think they are receiving and do not want to lose it. 

Let us always be at the forefront of truth because, on the last day, it is still God and not the human being we are going to give account to.



4. Today, we fear those who will give us money and gifts but we fail to fear God.

Jesus tells us to fear God, who is able to destroy both souls and bodies in the hellfire. Hence, we do not even pay attention to the word of God. We neglect God totally but fear men of wealth and money.

As we preach and depend on God’s mercy and love, let us not forget that His judgement is real. Only God has supreme authority over everything. 

Strong faith in God helps us to overcome the fear of people.

Nothing happens without the knowledge of God and will. 

In the Gospel, Jesus asks “Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. So, there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.



5. This simply means that if God can protect the lives of the sparrows which could not be bought with a penny, is it those he bought with the blood of His Son that He will overlook?

 If God can protect and care for them, He can do more for us. However, this is not a promise that we cannot face challenges and opposition but a pointer that despite that, we have to stand strong and confess Him in every circumstance, and every situation. 

Therefore, be blessed, be inspired and stay faithful.


May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to know Him more. God bless you. Happy Sunday.





  1. Nisha says


    1. Sanctus Mario says


  2. Fr. Charles Ojiaku says

    That’s very soul and erudite.

    1. Sanctus Mario says

      wow.Thank you so much fr

  3. Boitumelo Malebatsane says

    In jesus name amen🙏

  4. Yolanda Malebatsane says


    1. Stella Makwe says

      Amen. Thanks padre. This is quite inspiring. Fear is really bad. Lord grant me the grace to conquer fear Amen

  5. Mailoushi James says

    Amen, remain blessed Fr to the glory of God’s name, Amen

  6. Eze Juliana Nkechi says

    Amen o. I wish you the best Fr.

  7. Chinwendu Victoria says

    am so inspired by today’s message it just speaking to me personally it’s reminding and reassuring me to remain firm in the things I hold dear in what I believe and prophesed as a child of God. keep me strong Lord to do your will.

  8. Oby Okpalaeke says

    Amen 🙏
    Happy Sunday Fr.

  9. Regina Ajua Mobu says

    Amen!Happy Sunday to you too father.

  10. Regina Ajua Mobu says

    Amen! Happy Sunday to you too father.

  11. Ekwueme Amarachi Judith says

    Amen. God bless you too Father.

  12. Gabriel-Martin says

    Amen Fr

  13. Mariajacinta Ivoke says


  14. Chinyere Ezemelue says

    Fear is my greatest enemy. Lord help me to exercise faith that swallows every kind of fear. Amen.

  15. Amalu Gloria says

    Amen, may God help me to always do his will forever. Amen.

  16. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu and family says


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