Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bulletin Date: 
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fear Not

To be on the front line for Christ can be a fearful experience, but fear need not be debilitating. “Fear not” and “Be not afraid” are recurring messages sent from heaven, so God must know how easy it is for us to look and to live on the dark side of life. Since we are social creatures, desiring friendly relationships and the support of others, we are greatly influenced by the acceptance or rejection of those around us. Holding strong beliefs which result in moral behavior which a secular world often considers offensive can often result in our being disliked by others, and can cause them to withhold their friendship and support. Sometimes they even oppose us, and this hostility can spark fear in our heart. But we should not give over control of our lives to others out of fear.

Being a follower of Jesus calls us to be counter-cultural. It requires us to live and communicate values that the world does not understand, nor appreciate, and which it sometimes resists with hostility. It is hard for us who love Jesus to accept the fact that many in the world reject Jesus, his values and his character. So sometimes we are surprised when we too are confronted with hostility because we follow Jesus and allow him to live in and through us. The days leading up to the crucifixion were threatening and fearful and the disciples experienced a similar fear of hostility. After the crucifixion the followers of Jesus were threatened, abused, and even killed. So it is not unusual if we experience similar opposition and fearful situations as followers of Christ.\

But fear need not be debilitating for us. The disciples left the crucifixion in fear and hid themselves in a room making sure the door and windows were closed and locked. Forty days later we see these same disciples standing in the center of Jerusalem proclaiming that this Jesus who the people killed was both Lord and Christ. What transformed this fear into boldness?

The person who lives in us, Jesus the Son of God, can give us the perspective we need to face and conquer fear, if we listen to him and stop listening to our fears. In love, and in anticipation of the trials we would face we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell, or live within us. Because all power has been given to Jesus he can provide the power to change us from fearfulness to boldness. He can help us overcome threatening situations because Jesus has overcome the world. The following passage is very helpful: “. . . fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) This is just one of the many promises the Father has given us to dissipate our fear. It is a promise reiterated again and again by his heavenly messengers, by Jesus, and by his Holy Spirit. If we listen we will find that the front line of spiritual warfare need not be a fearsome place, but can be a wonderful “fire-scorched” community of brave followers of Jesus. Perhaps we should memorize one or more of these promises so that the Holy Spirit can bring it to the forefront of our mind and transform our fear to boldness.

God Bless! Fr. Elmer