Readings: 2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12, Ps. 123:1-2, Mark 12:18-27

“God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

As Christians, it's crucial to understand the difference between meekness and timidity. In the Beatitudes, Jesus proclaimed, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). It's important to note that He did not say, “Blessed are the timid.” There is a clear distinction between meekness (a quality of humility) and timidity (a state of fear). It's one thing to embody humility, but it's an entirely different matter to cower in fear of the devil or feel ashamed of God.

In the First Reading, St. Paul's words to Timothy resonate: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, … but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8). As Jesus Himself declared: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33). Let's remember we are not weak but strong in the power and love of God.

*The fact that God is yet to answer your prayers or that things are not working well for you does not mean God is weak.* Whenever we experience tough times, the devil tries to convince us to deny God. Despite all that Job suffered, he never lost confidence in God. He said: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19:25-27). In the same vein, St. Paul (who was in prison then) said: “For this gospel, I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he can guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:11-12)

As St. Paul says, *the Holy Spirit is the spirit of power, love, and self-control.* To be powerful is to be confident, knowing God is on your side. As the Psalmist says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). *Power without love is dangerous.* St. Paul says: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Again, power and love must go with self-control. *Without self-control, you cannot claim to have the Holy Spirit in you.* As Paul writes: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)

Jesus displayed power, love, and self-control in His public ministry. After He had brilliantly silenced the Herodians and Pharisees, the Sadducees came to try their luck. In a bid to prove that heaven does not exist, they presented the scenario of a woman married to seven brothers who all died in succession without any of them leaving a child behind. The Sadducees asked: “In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?”

Jesus responded that this question revealed their lack of understanding of the scriptures and their limited mindset concerning God. *No marriage exists in heaven because we shall be like the Angels there.* When we die, we leave behind our flesh (which will be buried), but our souls, being immortal, continue to live. He is not a God of the dead but of the living. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26). This is our confidence in God; that *even if we die proclaiming our faith, we are assured of eternal life.*

Today, we celebrate St. Boniface. He was an English man who, desiring to preach the Gospel in a foreign land, travelled to Mainz, Germany, where he strenuously proclaimed Jesus. He was eventually made a Bishop. In his later years, he worked with King Pepin and set out to evangelise Friesland (part of modern Holland), where he was murdered on 5 June 754. He is buried at Fulda, near Frankfurt, in the monastery he founded and is honoured as the apostle of Germany.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may I boldly proclaim You in a world of darkness. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. May God's abundant blessings be upon us all. (Saint Boniface, Bishop, Martyr. Bible Study: 2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12, Ps. 123:1-2, Mark 12:18-27).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu