"The right thing to do never requires any subterfuge; it is always simple and direct." - Calvin Coolidge: (1872 –1933: was the 30th President of the United States (1923–29). A Republican lawyer from Vermont)
Gospel Text: (LK 12:1-7)
At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”
In the secular culture that surrounds modern Western man, the only image of Jesus that is acceptable is that of a spiritual teddy bear. The idea that Jesus makes demands or sets boundaries is incompatible with modern secularism.
What to make of today’s Gospel passage, then? Jesus declares: “I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.”
Still, just three sentences later Jesus demands: “Do not be afraid.” There seems to be a contradiction. Jesus tells us to be afraid, and then not to be afraid.
Jesus insists that we have a fully-rounded, rather than two-dimensional, view of God. “Holy Fear”, or rather, “Fear of the Lord” can give direction to our days on this earth and to each day’s choices. But guided by love, we can trust God who guides us to Himself.