We become his disciple as soon as we make the decision to follow Jesus. This is certainly true when we are joined with him in Baptism.
Pope Francis said, “"What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and it's very simple: Make disciples." This means, not only are we disciples, but through speaking out, we make disciples. We pass on the truths and the values of Jesus, in apostolic tradition and personal encounter, and lead people to Christ.
Isaiah is reminding us of this in today’s first reading. “The Lord has given me a disciple's tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied, he provides me with speech.” Isaiah 50:4-7
But what stops us from making disciples? From evangelising?
What stops us from doing anything?
When we set out to evangelise, we have to overcome our fear. Fear presents all sorts of potential barriers to us doing what God asked us to do.
There’s an all too familiar fear found in insecurity, that voice in our head that asks why anyone would want my opinion anyway? Nor do we want to look like the crazy person in the room – another insecurity, but add a little vanity.
We don’t want to come on too strong, and push people away. There is the fear of ridicule, mockery and abuse from internet trolls that makes us pause. Evangelical organisation, Divine Renovation, talks about this, and they find the answer in calling upon the Holy Spirit to give us strength and bravery. I certainly agree that I need the Holy Spirit's help in most situations.
Today, I also find Peter an inspiration. He too acts upon fear, denying Christ three times before the cock crows, but look at how he went on to lead our Church and evangelise far and wide. He gave his life for the truth of Jesus Christ.
We are only human, and fear is a powerful emotion. When we fear abuse and mockery, consider what Jesus suffered in the epic Passion narrative in Matthew: “And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off his robe and put his own clothes back on him again. Then they led him to be crucified.”
People even mocked Jesus as he was dying on the cross: “’He saved others,’ they scoffed. ‘But he can’t save himself. So he is the King of Israel, is he?’”
On Palm Sunday we celebrate the victorious entrance of Jesus and his followers into Jerusalem. The crowds waved Palm branches and threw them on the ground to carpet his progress into the city. By doing this, they were proclaiming him as king. We should do the same. No matter what.
We have to trust that Isaiah is right, and that God does give us the right words to say at the right time, so that someone who needs them may hear them. This is more important than suffering a little mockery. Getting the words out to the people who need to hear them must become a priority when we take up discipleship. My relationship with Jesus has saved my life and given me blessing after blessing after blessing. How can I not pass that on to others?
If my Lord suffered on the Cross for me, why should I fear to suffer for Him?
Readings at Mass today: Isaiah 50:4-7 Psalm22 Phil 2:6-11 Matt 26:14-27:66
Source: Sixth Sunday of LentThis Sunday