DO NOT BE AFRAID! GOD’S GOT YOUR BACK. HOMILY FOR THE 12TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

GOD'S GOT YOUR BACK

There is a famous story about a young man of seventeen years whose life could serve as an odyssey; yes, a long adventurous journey. He was the beloved of his father not only because he was the youngest of all, but he was also upright.

The young man had older brothers who disliked him for a variety of reasons which included his dream of a future greatness above them and the love of their father towards him. One day, they had an opportunity to kill him in the woods and end his potential fame but later decided to sell him off to some merchants who were on a business trip to a distant land.

In the distant land, things went from bad to good and from good to bad and again from bad to good and finally to excellent. He later became a great man, a renowned Prime Minister in the palace of Pharaoh of Egypt. Of course, we are talking about Joseph the dreamer (Genesis. 37ff).

There is one lesson we could learn from the story of Joseph; he was never afraid, and the reason is that: “GOD’S GOT HIS BACK.” The Bible gives us several references about the abiding presence of God in the life of Joseph. The following passages tell us that “God was with him and he prospered”: Genesis 39: 2, 3, 21, 23.

Way back in my younger years as a soccer player, we had a “BACKMAN.” The Backman was our amateur way of describing one of those playing the center full-back. The primary duty of the Backman is to build defences against the attacks of the opposing team; he’s got the back of the team.

We also notice that top government officials and prominent individuals often have security men standing behind them when they step out. The security designates work as “Backmen” against possible physical attacks.

Among all the “Backmen” we can think of there is none as formidable and enduring as God Himself. The key message we have today is that “God has our backs” against all possible physical and spiritual oppositions there could be in life.

The First Reading of today (Jeremiah 20:10-13) opens the discussion by describing to us how God rescues the life of the poor from the power of the wicked. The victim in the passage suffers in the hands of friends who turn out to become persecutors. They devise various means to bring the victim down. However, he tells us this: “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion.” Put in another way; God’s got the back of the victimized.

In the Gospel Reading today (Matthew 10:26-33), our Lord Jesus Christ tells the twelve not to be afraid. Fear is an emotion that could wrap and wrinkle us when we allow it to rule us. There are reasons why we should fear, but our fear should not replace our faith. Faith tells us to accept facts without proofs (Heb.11:1). Faith tells us to come to God believing that He can do all things even the impossible ones (Mark 11:22).

If we take a closer look at the Gospel Reading, we could see that we have a kind of contradictory instruction: “not to fear and to fear.” Let us look at the passage again and make a little sense out it.

“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”

Some people naturally assume that the one who can destroy the body and the soul in hell is the devil. If that is the case, then we should fear the devil. The passage refers to God. He is the “One” who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Gehenna). The soul faces destruction when it does not enjoy eternity with God (John 15:5). God is the author of our being, and He takes the final decision about us.

You may be passing through tough moments in your life; do not be afraid, God has your back. Are you struggling with so many things? Is your life going to the brink? Do not be frightened! God’s got your back. Your relationship or marriage may appear to be in a trouble mode, do not be afraid, God has your back. You may be suffering from betrayal from those you trust; your friends may be turning into enemies; do not be scared. God has your back.

The word of God says in Book of Psalms (30:5): “For His anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning”. Here we learn that every ugly situation would eventually give way to God’s glorious blessings. The tribulation might be many, but God will deliver us from them all (Psalm 34:19).

God is so detailed in His care over you that He knows the number of hairs on your head. You are not alone in your challenges; God knows your issues, He has your back and like the response to the Psalm today says, “He would answer you in His great love.”

Good parents look out for their children, provide for them, and protect them. God does more than good parents. God has comprehensive care over you even before your conception in the wombs of your mother (Jeremiah 1:5). God lacks nothing, and He can do all things without limitations. God has your back:

  • God says to Paul (Act 18: 9b-10a): “Do not be afraid…For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you.”
  • God assures Joshua (1:5): “No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
  • Moses assures Joshua that God will not fail nor forsake him (Deut. 31:6b).

As we march into a new week, let us strive to erase our fears, bring forth our faith and God will show us His faithfulness. In all circumstances, remember that He’s got your back! Have a great day!

Fr. Bonnie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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