Today’s Gospel: John 11:45–53
Studies show that fear is one of the most potent human emotions—for good and for ill. The fear of the chief priests and Pharisees in today’s gospel lesson was powerful enough to cause them to plot how they would rid themselves of the source of their fear—Jesus.
What frightens you? What sort of hold does it have on your life? We know that fear is a common aspect of the human condition. References to “do not be afraid” or “fear not” appear in the Bible over 100 times! Could it be that something wonderful often awaits on the other side of fear if we can just stay open to God’s leading?
Poet Kathleen Norris reminds us that the ancient sense of fear included a “healthy dose of reverence and wonder” and that our contemporary landscape often leaves us with only the negative connotations of the word. “It is fear—in the old sense of awe—that allows us to recognize the holy in our midst, fear that gives us the courage to listen, and to let God awaken in us capacities and responsibilities we have been afraid to contemplate.”
God was doing a new thing through Jesus that many of the chief priests and Pharisees could not see for the fear it elicited. What new thing might God be prepared to do through you and me if we can only get past our fear? Be not afraid!
Blessings and in faith,
O Lord, in your goodness you bestow abundant graces on your elect: Look with favor, we entreat you, upon those who in these Lenten days are being prepared for Holy Baptism, and grant them the help of your protection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Lesser Feasts and Fasts, pg 61)
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