An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded. – Pope John Paul 2
Gospel text (Jn 6,16-21):
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
It can be easy to be fearful – to close oneself off from others and differences. I believe change cannot occur by doing the ordinary, comfortable tasks of daily life. We only grow in our personal lives, social lives, and faith if we venture beyond what is comfortable. God has given each one of us a passion in life: there is some task that we excel at – some task, which we must complete to leave the world a better place than we found it. To discover our passion, and act upon it, we must continually step into the frightening unknown.
The disciples’ purpose was to welcome the Risen Lord into their “boat”. Fear got in their way and they arrived at the shore before being able to welcome him. We cannot let fear be an excuse. We must take a step outside of our comfort zone. Windows of opportunity are only open for a short period of time. If we let our fear intimidate us and keep us from trying something new, we may never ignite the passion we have been given. True growth requires work. We must step into our fear to learn our purpose.
A secular quote illustrates the pointlessness of fear of new experiences:
“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” – George E. Woodbury
Life is a sea voyage in a storm. Of ourselves, we will struggle, become frustrated, and at times be afraid.. With Christ in us and we in Him, our burdens are light (Mt 11:30), our peace is beyond understanding (Phil 4:7; see also Jn 14:27), and we are secure and free forever.
We can never reach the top if we don’t try. Be not afraid.