Jun 24, 2017
"Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them. The past, the present and the future are but one moment in the sight of God, in whose sight we should try to live."
12th Sunday in Ordinary time
We often think of religion as a set of rules and commandments - directives as to what to believe and how to live our lives.
But if there is any one command that comes down from God, a commandment that is repeated in the Bible 365 times - in other words, an order to be followed for each day of the year, it is this - “Do not be afraid”. This simple divine directive should always be at the forefront of our minds, when we are trying to live our Christian discipleship in the midst of the everyday battlefields of life. “Do not be afraid”, God assures us.
But you might say that, looking out into the world, there is so much to be afraid of. Not only do I sometimes fear for myself, but also I fear for my family, the future generations, my nation - I am afraid of what the world is turning into.
Of course, these are concerns. But listen carefully to why Our Lord tells we should not be afraid.
He doesn't say that we need not be afraid because we will not experience pain or suffering or even that He will quickly come to our rescue. Instead we should not be afraid because, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known”.
In other words, there is no need for you to be afraid - why? Because every hidden thought you have, every email you have sent, every webpage you have browsed, every secret conversation you have had, every dream, every feeling, every word and every action you have every made, in public, private or secret, will be brought to light!
Oh dear! - now I am really afraid!
We all have been wounded in battles and conflicts. Our scars might be hidden from public view, but our memories of past conflicts still have the power to haunt us. But what are we afraid of? We are afraid of the world, the world’s judgement, opinion, whether I will be liked or not, whether I can meet its expectations or not. Often I am more afraid of my ego being damaged or how I will look in a photograph that can easily be deleted, than being afraid that my soul, which will never die, might be lost and damned for all eternity.
But if I allow all my sins to be brought to light, that is to God’s light, His light is gentle, purifying, healing - if I have repented of my past sins, opened my wounds to the healing power of God’s mercy and forgiveness, particularly through the Sacrament of Confession, and have done my penance and resolved to sin no more, I have no need to be afraid- not even to fear God.
Of course, this is easier said than done. So we need to be constantly reminded not not sell ourselves to the world but to instead offer our bodies and our souls willingly to God the creator of all that is.
Do not be afraid to reveal your fears and anxieties to our loving Father and trust in His grace
He gives strength to the humble and repentant soul.
Do not be afraid to get down on your knees and trust in the power of our loving Father -
He gives strength to the body so that through it, we can give public witness our Christian discipleship, even if we are pushed around a bit, bruised a little or even hung upon a cross.
Of course, we bring all our fears, our hopes and our gifts to the Altar of the Lord, so that uniting them to the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, we can likewise be assured of our invitation to rise from the dead with Him who now lives and reigns, beyond the reach and judgement of this passing world.
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