St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

 

Do Not Be Afraid

-Homily from August 10, 2014

 

Jesus said: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Mathew 14,27).

 

What does fear mean?

The noun fear can be used in three ways with different meanings:

1. In one form fear is a strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger, e.g. “He was struck by fear on seeing the snake.”

2. In another form, and when used with the indefinite article “a fear” means a phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone, e.g. “Not everybody has the same fears; I have a fear of ants.”

3. In another form it can also mean extreme veneration or awe: e.g. “fear of the Lord.”

 

What kinds of fear there are?

There are different kinds of fear: good and not good.

Some fears are of demons and ghosts, the existence of evil powers, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, heights, water, enclosed spaces, tunnels, bridges…

There are others like: social rejection, failure, examinations and public speaking...

And still others regarding God and the things of God such as fear of sinning, fear of losing His friendship and his grace…

 Our society lives full of fear: fear of death, illness, hunger, war, joblessness, crime, failure, loneliness…

 

Some consequences of fear

Sometimes fear makes us want to run away, mourn…

Sometimes it makes us “freeze” (we can not do anything or we can not think to take some decision),

            Sometimes it scares us or provokes in us anguish, despair, hopelessness…

Sometimes fear takes away our joy, our peace, our serenity.

 

Today’s Gospel

The disciples are in the boat, battered by the waves, far from the land, and the wind is against them. They are in a dangerous situation. The boat is sailing with difficulty. The shore of safety is still far away.

 

Even if we are not in a boat on the lake, we sometimes find ourselves in a situation similar to the disciples. We have different difficulties: personal failings, neighbour’s hostilities, judgment, sorrow or disquiet in our hearts... Sometimes, even if we use all our strength, it seems we can not go on ahead.

 

When the disciples had rowed for a long time and were tired, Jesus approached them in a way that they had not expected. He was on the lake and walked on the water.

 

We can not dictate how Jesus will come to us, in what way He should be closer to us. His possibilities are limitless; he can surprise us in many ways. It depends on how well we keep our eyes on him, trust him, and allow him to help us. If our expectations are small, then they can make us blind to the help and the encounter that Jesus really wants to offer and have with us.

 

Conclusion

 

Once I read “if we live in fear of the future because of what happened in our past, we will end up losing what we have in the present.”

Pope John XXIII said: “Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness”.

 

He also said: “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

 

Pope John Paul II said: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.”

 

 Jesus said: “Fear not little flock” (Lk 12:32) and “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Do not be afraid to live out your faith and be the best you can be.

 

            Let Our Lady help us to overcome our fears and trust in Jesus because He said: “Do not be afraid, I am always with you.” –Fr. Higinio