Nineteenth Sunday

11th August 2019  

No need to be afraid Lk 12.32-48

Jesus said ‘Do not be afraid’ nine times over to his followers. Angels said the same to the disciples at Easter, to the shepherds at Christmas and to Mary at Nazareth. We human beings have so many fears, that we need this constant reassurance.

Jesus understood our deepest fears, especially those of the lonely, the blind and the bereaved, and that is why he so often repeated today’s injunction ‘Do not be afraid’. But he also knew that the rich and the powerful could be equally fearful, and elsewhere the gospel highlights the paranoia of Herod, the insecurity of Pilate, and the anxious jealousy of the Scribes. Human strength alone cannot free us from fear.

For ourselves, fear is real whether its causes are reasonable or not, and we have to deal with it or else it derails us. The good news is that we don’t have to deal with it by ourselves. There is an age-old Christian tradition of sharing our fears with trusted friends and soul-mates, and handing them over to the Lord. A useful exercise that many people find helpful is to spend a few minutes at the start of each day in a prayer of ‘handing over’ and asking the Lord who is our good shepherd to take away our fears just for today.

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