To Acknowledge Jesus – Dcn. Kris Kuckelman

Dcn. Kris Kuckelman’s Homily June 21, 2020

“So in our Gospel reading today, Jesus tells the Apostles to ‘fear no one.’  What’s kind of curious about that is if you look at the verses immediately before our Gospel reading Jesus assures the Apostles that they will be persecuted and indeed they were.  Tradition tells us that all of the Apostles except for John were martyred for the faith.  So how do we reconcile this assurance of persecution with this instruction to fear no one?  And the key is this: God allows short term, temporal pain for the benefit of long term, spiritual good.  In the case of the Apostles, they endured pain, no doubt about it, some of them shorter, some of them longer, maybe a few decades for a lot of them, but for 2000 years now they’ve been living in a paradise that we can’t even imagine and they’ll live there for two gazillion more and what’s more is the multiplier effect.  The early Christians recognized that the blood of the martyrs became the seed for new Christians and 2000 years later millions and millions maybe billions of people have turned to Christianity either directly or indirectly because those apostles were willing to accept persecution.  At the end of our Gospel reading we had this admonition from Jesus to the Apostles.  If they acknowledge Jesus, he’ll acknowledge them before our Heavenly Father, but if they deny him he’ll deny them before our Heavenly Father and it might be tempting for us living in Johnson County, KS in our age to think that that admonition doesn’t apply to us.  We don’t face martyrdom or at least a red martyrdom.  We may think that we’re okay if we don’t overtly deny Jesus, but that would be wrong.  You see the world, it’s default setting is to deny Jesus.  The world’s message is always and always has been, ‘it’s about me and maximizing my comfort and my pleasure in the here and now.’  Our culture denies anything supernatural, anything transcendent and so unless we’re swimming upstream, unless we affirmatively acknowledge Jesus before others we effectively deny Jesus.

There are probably 100,000 different ways to acknowledge Jesus and what’s right for 1 situation is wrong in a different situation.  It depends on us, it depends on who we’re with, it depends on the situation, but I just want to throw out a few ways to acknowledge Jesus that might apply to most all of us.  One thing we can do to acknowledge Jesus to others is just to invite them to Mass and if you’re not here live, you’re still watching by live stream, invite people into your home to watch the Mass via live stream.  Another thing we can do when we’re comfortable going back to restaurants is to pray before the meal at a restaurant just like we would at home.  Why wouldn’t we?  And another thing I’d like to throw out just as a suggestion is when you’re talking to a co-worker or a friend or a neighbor or an acquaintance or a total stranger and they’re telling you about troubles that they’re experiencing don’t be afraid to say, ‘I’ll pray for you’ and then do it and then follow up later and say, ‘How’s that trouble, that problem?’ And they’ll know that you’re acknowledging Jesus and that Christianity is real, it’s genuine at least in your heart.  If all this talk about acknowledging Jesus is intimidating to you because you’re afraid that you might be ostracized or people may think less of you, please don’t be discouraged.  You’re not alone.  If this was easy, Jesus wouldn’t have had to tell the Apostles.  If it was easy the Church wouldn’t have selected this reading for about a billion Catholics to read today.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, the grace of God and only by the grace of God we can acknowledge Jesus and the world desperately needs us to acknowledge Jesus.”