The power of fear

Do not fear…

Three times in today’s Gospel (Matthew 10:24-33) Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not be afraid.”

All too often I find myself worrying over things that I need to do – afraid to fail, afraid that I won’t be able to do them right. This sometimes paralyzes me so much that I don’t dare to do the things I need to do.

All too often I hear people here afraid of being robbed or assaulted. This often causes people to become suspicious of others, breaking down the ties of solidarity.

In what I read of what is happening in the US, I hear people afraid of those who are different, people afraid of losing their privileges. This often leads to demonization of those who are different or marginalization of the perceived threats.

Here in Honduras, there are many people marching in the streets, demanding changes in the government that really address corruption and impunity. But I also hear of the fears of some in light of threats made against some demonstrators and the continuing presence of people connected with some of the government-sponsored terrorism of the 1980s.

In the face of all these fears, though, I feel a deep sense of God’s presence sustaining me – and I pray that others may experience this so that they may be courageous.

Providentially, the Daily Dig from Plough this morning is about fear, taken from the writings of Anthony de Mello, S.J.:

Has it ever struck you that those who most fear to die are the ones who most fear to live? Life is flexible and free, and you are rigid and frozen. Life carries all things away, and you crave stability and permanence. You fear life and death because you cling. You cannot bear the thought of losing a relative or friend; you dread losing a pet theory or ideology or belief. When you cling to nothing, when you have no fear of losing anything, then you are free to flow like a mountain stream that is always fresh and sparkling and alive.

May God give us the courage to be free from fear – even as we face difficult or dangerous situations, remembering our worth in God’s eyes:

Do not be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10: 31

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