Today is the 12 Sunday in Ordinary Time: Three times in today’s Gospel, Jesus makes a plea or a command that we do not fear. “Do not be afraid. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered….Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…So do not be afraid, you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows. ( Matthew 10:26ff). There are two kinds of fear – one that is healthy, and necessary when in the face of danger. There is another kind of fear that is destructive and unhealthy. In the story of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) one man buries his talent because he is afraid. If we do not live our lives with purpose and courage our personality does not grow. Fear can be seen as the negative polarity of the virtues of prudence and providence. The latter does not paralyse a person they merely check impetuous attitudes that show themselves in the ill-considered actions and hasty words that we learn subsequently to regret. Ronald Rolheiser the Oblate priest in his book speaks of our fears about God. I quote: “We harbour too many unconscious fears of God: Fear that God is not as understanding and compassionate as we are. Fear that God is not as bighearted as we are (or fear that God may be as small-hearted as we are). Fear that God does not read the heart and cannot tell the difference between wound and coldness, immaturity and sin. Fear that God gives us only one chance and cannot bear any missteps and infidelities. Fear that God doesn’t respect our humanity, that God created us in one way but wants us to live in another way in order to be saved. Fear that God is threatened by our achievements, like a petty tyrant. Fear that God is threatened by our doubts and questions, like an insecure leader. Fear that God cannot stand up to the intellectual and cultural scrutiny of our world but somehow needs to be segregated and protected like an over pious novice. Fear that God is less interested in our lives than we are and less solicitous for our salvation and that of our loved ones than we are. And not least, fear that God is as helpless before our moral helplessness as we are. But that is not the God we believe in”. “Wrestling with God” (Image. New York 2018) (page 77-78).
Today we are called to be a faithful community. To allow the fetters of fear to be broken in our hearts. We are not called to be a member of a cowardly or a faithless community. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Christ who is challenging us to walk without fear along the road of faithfulness. May the Lord give us the grace to conquer fear, and know His peace and love in our lives.
Feasts for the Week: Wednesday: St. Irenaeus (120-203 AD) – Bishop of Lyons. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis. It means that Irenaeus has made an important contribution to theology and the understanding of our faith through his writings. Thursday: Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Martyred in 64 A.D. St. Augustine said: Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; And even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith. Saturday: St. Oliver Plunkett. He was the last Catholic to die for his faith in Tyburn London on this date 1681 and was the first of the Irish martyrs to be beatified in 1920. Today in the Passionist calendar it is also the feast day of the Precious Blood of Jesus.
Thank you for the collection last weekend. It came to £1960. A word of thanks also to our Ushers, Readers and Ministers of the Eucharist for their wonderful help during the liturgy at the weekend.
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