Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.- Saint Clare of Assisi
(Gospel Text: Jn 10:22-30)
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
When do you feel vulnerable?
Maybe flying in an airplane, or being in a boat surrounded by large waves. Whatever triggers it for you; everyone has times of wondering if catastrophe is just around the corner.
Here’s another question: do you ever feel vulnerable in your relationship with God?
It’s easy to worry that if we do or say the wrong thing, we may get ourselves into too much trouble. Perhaps you feel you have already alienated God so much that he has given up on you, and you wonder if you will ever make it to heaven.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus confronts these fears head-on. Speaking about those who believe, he says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand” (John 10:28). What comforting words that remind us of God’s love for us! It is very easy to think that we are the primary actors in our spiritual lives. But here Jesus is reminding us that he is the one pursuing us, and he will not allow anyone or anything to snatch us out of his hand. He even goes so far as to say, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all” (10:29).
God doesn’t want you to live in fear of rejection from him. He wants you to be more sure of his love for you than you are of anything else in life. That’s because his love is the most sure thing in all the world! You can live in joy and security, safe in the knowledge that God is on your side, and that nothing can separate you from him.
Today, try taking a look at some of your fears. What makes you feel most deeply vulnerable? Give these areas over to God, and ask him to replace them with the joy and freedom that he has won for you. Let his greatness and his mercy put all your fears into perspective so that you can live as the son or daughter you are, perfectly safe in your Father’s hand!