Sunday, June 21, 2020

+ 12th Sunday A +

Fear no one. The reverential fear of God cancels out the servile fear of anyone else. Eugene Peterson’s contemporary language bible says it this way:

Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

Fear manifests itself in many ways: hiding who I am from myself, from God, from you; grasping at possessions, overwork, and a carefully crafted persona to isolate myself from danger.

Our Father knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves and loves us more than we can possibly grasp.  He showed us this in Jesus. That is what we must never forget and never deny.

Of course, we should not take stupid risks, but you cannot be a disciple and avoid all risk—without stepping up.

Such trust in, such reverence for, the sovereignty of God urges us to be more fearless before others and more care free in everyday life.

As John S. Dunne indicates, there is such a difference between being care-less and care-free:

It is one thing to simply let go of all your concerns; it is another to turn them over to God.  For in simply letting go you are becoming free by no longer caring; but in turning your hopes and fears over to God you become heart-free and yet still care…“I have no hope; I have no fear; I am free,” Nikos Kazantzakis says in words inscribed on his tombstone. I hope still, but I hope in God; I fear still, but I fear God; I am free, not of care but of the burden of care.

Serving others well means being able to say things they do not wish to hear, in a way they can hear, and being able to make necessary decisions even when consensus is not possible.

Grounding my life in the fear and trust of God draws me to get over myself, to get out of my own way. It’s not about me, it’s about doing the job I have been given to do.

I become more aware of lesser, subtle fears that distort and stunt my judgments and am more willing to push myself beyond them.

I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me and to guide me into fortitude—the courage and endurance needed to stand up for what is right and to persevere in doing good and enduring evil.

We bear witness to who we are in Christ by the way we live, by whom we love,  for whom we willingly sacrifice.

The “fear of the Lord” is a profound and paradoxical combination of love, awe, trust, confidence, and embarrassed inadequacy.  It is good for us.

“Have no fear of them…What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.”

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