I went to Mass at St. Hubert’s yesterday morning, giving me the opportunity, for the first time, to hear a sermon from their new Associate Pastor Fr. John Dress.
He began by focusing on a portion of the Gospel I did not address in my post yesterday – the opening line, in which Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid any longer little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.” Fr. John suggested that before we can trust the invitation to not be afraid, we should ask “What are we afraid of?” With respect to the parable in the Gospel, he suggested the servant feared the master would not arrive, and thus sought to assuage his emptiness and need in various other pursuits.
Fr. John’s analysis of what the servant was afraid of may or may not have been accurate, but was not really what struck me. It is the invitation to ask what we are afraid of – to really examine our fears – that I think is so important. We all have fears; if we didn’t Jesus wouldn’t so often have said in the Gospels “Do not be afraid.”
As he said to his disciples, he says to us, “Do not be afraid.” I think we can trust that promise fully only if we know what it is that we fear in the first place.
I think Jesus wants us to know ourselves, not run away, distract ourselves, or hide from what we think we will find.
Amen to this one, Susan! this morning I read:
“God walks with us into our fears, to feel them, to own them, to let them teach us. We need to say, ‘I’m afraid, Lord, how do I deal with this fear?’ We tell God we’re hurting and life is falling apart. We’ve lost a job or a loved one, and we don’t know how to believe, hope, or love.
Faith cannot rest. Faith definitions grow old as we move through our lives. Periodically we have to say, ‘Lord, what does faith mean now?'” ~from Richard Rohr “Job and the Mystery of Suffering: spiritual reflections”