Fear Transformed

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Readings for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Saints Pontian, Pope and Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs – Optional Memorial

During the fourth watch of the night, [Jesus] came toward them walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.  At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Matthew 14:25-27

Does Jesus frighten you?  Or, better put, does His perfect and divine will frighten you?  Hopefully not, but sometimes it may, at least at first.  This story reveals to us certain spiritual insights and the way we may react to the will of God in our lives.

First of all, the context of the story is important.  The Apostles were on a boat in the middle of the lake at night.  The darkness can be seen as the darkness we face in life as we go through various challenges and difficulties.  The boat has been traditionally seen as a symbol of the Church and the lake as a symbol of the world.  So the context of this story reveals that the message is one for all of us, living in the world, remaining in the Church, encountering the “darkness” of life.

Sometimes when the Lord comes to us in the darkness we encounter, we are immediately frightened by Him.  It’s not so much that we are frightened by God Himself; rather, we can easily become frightened by God’s will and what He asks of us.  God’s will always calls us to selfless giving and sacrificial love.  At times, this can be hard to accept.  But when we remain in faith, our Lord will gently say to us, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  His will is nothing we should be afraid of.  We should seek to embrace it with full confidence and trust.  This may be challenging at first, but with faith and trust in Him, His will leads us to a life of the utmost fulfillment.

Reflect, today, upon whatever our Lord may be calling you to do right now in your life.  If at first it seems overwhelming, keep your eyes fixed on Him and know that He will never ask of you anything that is too difficult to accomplish.  His grace is always sufficient and His will is always worthy of full acceptance and trust. 

Lord, may Your will be done in my life in all things.  I pray that I may always welcome You into the darkest challenges of my life and that I will keep my eyes fixed upon You and Your perfect plan.  May I never give in to fear but allow You to dispel that fear with Your grace.  Jesus, I trust in You.