It takes tremendous courage to give witness to Christ. Unlike the many martyrs who have gone before us and unlike many Christians today in some parts of the world, we do not have to be afraid of being put to death for Christ.  But we certainly risk being hurt – even by people we might know – for being His witnesses.  Like Jeremiah in today’s first reading, we must trust in the Lord that He will protect us.  Jesus tells us today not to be afraid, but rather proclaim from the housetops what we have heard.  Don’t be concerned with those who can destroy your body, but not your soul; be concerned rather with losing your soul, your very self, for the sake of protecting your standing with the standards of the world.  Do not be concerned if people call you names because you have the courage to live your faith.  Don’t be concerned if people make stories up about you because what they really want to do is deflect attention away from their own shortcomings.  Instead, recognise this: when we stand with God, we stand with the Victor.  Jesus Christ will win the battle, after all, our battle is His battle and He is with us, always, yes, to the end of time.

… both by kindly words and virtuous life!