From the Pastor – June 25, 2023

Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  (Mt 10:29-31)

Today Jesus tells is not to be afraid.  And how much we need to hear these words during this time of global pandemic and societal unrest!  Fear of disease, fear of racism and fear of violence have permeated the last three months.  But the words of the Gospel provide a reassurance from Jesus: “do not be afraid.”

If we think about it, our lives are a succession of fears. As children we might have feared the dark or thunder and lightning.  Perhaps as teenagers we feared not fitting in at school.  At exam time we might have feared failing a test or failing to make the football team.  We might have feared being rejected for our first job.  And as adults we find that fear doesn’t go away.  We might fear a bad economy, fear losing our job, fear for our kids or fear for the future.

Against all of these fears Jesus tells us “do not be afraid,” and He doesn’t do so naively.  Jesus knows human fear.  The most notable place he experienced it was in Gethsemane. And He knows that fear is important in our lives as a protection against danger.  As a kid, I was terrified of thunder and lightning, but my parents calmed my fear by promising that we were safe in the house.  But Jesus is not talking about a first reaction to an imminent harm, which is short-lived and natural. He’s talking about living in the state of fear. He came to earth to bring us from a state of fear into the state of the peace of God’s kingdom.

Every lasting fear we experience can be reduced to one of two types of fear: fear about some pain, be it physical, emotional, or psychological; or fear about a lack of control.   Most of our fears are a combination.

Against these fears, these states of anxiety, Jesus not only said “be not afraid,” but shows and gives us the way to overcome them. We overcome them by real living faith and trust in God our Father and in the power of Jesus’ loving life, death and resurrection.

But how many of us truly take Jesus at his word? Thanks for your nice words Jesus, but I’m afraid of the economy and terrorism!  But then think about who is telling us not to be afraid, that we should trust and put the kingdom of God first in our lives.  It’s the Son of God.  He will provide for us.  Don’t be afraid.

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty