What are your fears?
What are your fears? For sure, any of us can be able to list at least one thing that can be frightening us. Common symptom – fear has come to us in various ways, it builds in us by our own experiences with things that we are afraid or do not want to come to contact with. There are so many of them such as a fear of poverty, fear of criticism, a fear of water or fire, fear of rejection, a fear of growing old, a fear of being separated from loved ones and fear of death. Most recently and importantly, there is another fear which has slowly built up into our minds: the fear of physical contact with other people. After the outbreak of Coronavirus, people become more cautious with the distance and physical contact with people around us.
But, why have I been mentioned so many time the word ‘fear’, because today’s gospel has a dominant theme, which is fear. Jesus repeats the words: “Do not be afraid,” three times in this Sunday Gospel. “Do not be afraid. For everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be made known” “Do not be afraid of people. They can kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul.” “Do not be afraid, you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.”
It is a quite interesting observance from the Biblical Scholars that the words: “Do not be afraid,” appear thirteen times in the entire gospel accounts. The words: “Do not be afraid,” also occur in the Bible for more than 365 times.
The gospel’s today is a continuation of the instructions that Jesus gave to the twelve apostles as he sent them out to go and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The values of the Kingdom are different from the values of this world so that people tend to reject the message and turn against the messengers. Jesus knew that the twelve apostles will face so many challenges and difficulties when they preach the message of the Gospel. Indeed, as the historical events have shown that almost all the apostles died by the violent death of martyrdom: Some of them ended up being crucified on the cross like Jesus or beheaded.
Jesus’s strong and firmed words for his Disciples are a good reminder for each of us that every single day, God assures us not to be afraid. ‘do not be afraid’ as Jesus is a great example of the strong character of facing the challenge: the scribes and Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, the Chief Priest and all His accusers with a clean heart and strong conviction. And so, we should not be afraid especially in proclaiming our faith in God in words and action that is built according to the values and demands of the gospel.
“Do not be afraid” message helps us to come to the realization that our human beings are subject of fear and this message is invited us to rethink of the way that how can we deal with fear in the Christian way? Instead of always focus on the external factors such as poverty, dark, water or fire that make us fearful, worried or scared. We should pay more intention into the internal matters such as our words, thoughts and actions that may cause ‘offending’ to those whom we love the most. Are we not deeply hurt when we discover that a word or action from our behaviour has hurt our parents, our children, or our good friend? Do we not fear of offending them?
Let us today take into account of all things that make us fearful, especially the fear of our words and actions can offending the people around us. Placing our fears at the table of the Eucharist as Jesus is telling that we should not be afraid because He is with us and His presence in us casts away all our fears.