In the Gospel for this Sunday it states that Jesus said to His apostles, “Fear no one; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” In saying these words, Jesus describes the worth of human beings in the eyes of God, who knows all things.
Fear is a part of life and part of each of our own daily lives. We are afraid of many things; failure, death, violence, the rise of terrorism and religious intolerance in our world and in our country. Apparently the words “Do Not Be Afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible. That’s one for every day of the year! How can we cope with these fears? As a child, I learned that if I woke up in the middle of the night I should say a prayer, say my rosary and it would give me comfort because God was always there watching over me. It is very simplistic but it worked many times. I have my mother’s rosary under my pillow to this day and I’ve often allayed my early morning anxieties by my childhood habit. Henri Nouwen stated, “When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps, I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within me and around me.”
“Do not be afraid” offers us hope, strength and courage when we are in doubt or struggling in any way. Mother Teresa said “Inhale courage, Exhale fear.” We are all capable of following the belief that God is always with us, trusting that we will receive love and always more love.
Richard Rohr phrased fear in an acronym:
Maybe we should think about these words and realize that we CAN face what we think is fear. By living an authentic faith we can face hardship, can be empowered to live more generously, more trustfully and yet, more bravely.