Jesus gives us the way to evaluate our authenticity.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
There’s a way to measure how much inner freedom we have and how much authenticity there is in our hearts. Jesus describes it to us in these words:
“Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Basically, he’s telling us that our life should be made up of things which wouldn’t embarrass or condemn us if they became public knowledge. Whenever you do something, ask yourself what would become of you if that thing you’re doing were done in the light of day, in front of everyone. This criterion would unmask many things that we wouldn’t otherwise have the courage to call “wrong,” even though that is the right word for them.
But we also receive inner freedom by conquering the greatest fear we carry within us, which is the fear of death:
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.”
Overcoming the fear of death gives us unimaginable freedom, which is why this victory is one of the ripest fruits of faith.
However, it’s not conquered simply by telling uplifting stories about the afterlife. We need to take seriously the one thing that can make us confront death face to face, and that is God’s love:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”
We are loved and never forgotten; this gives us the strength to pass through even the darkness of death.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.