“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.”― St. Thomas Aquinas
Gospel Text: (MT 10:24-33)
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
The Lord tells us 365 times in the Bible "Do not fear." That's one for every day of the year. In our Gospel reading today, Jesus commands: "Do not let them intimidate you" (Mt 10:26). "Do not be afraid of anything" (Mt 10:31). Notice the Lord not only frequently tells us not to fear but makes this a commandment.
Realistically speaking, we cannot just throw out fear. Fear must be displaced. Jesus doesn't merely tell us not to fear, but He says fear of man must be pushed out of our lives by fear of God (Mt 10:28).
The fear of the Lord, that is, a respectful awe in His presence, is the beginning of wisdom, and the end of fear of man (Ps 111:10). "He who fears the Lord is never alarmed, never afraid; for the Lord is his hope" (Sir 34:14).
As Catholics, at our Confirmations, each of our bishops or his delegate specifically prayed for us to receive the fear of the Lord (see Is 11:2-3). Therefore, we have this gift. Then, if we deepen our fear of the Lord (see Acts 9:31), we will deepen our faith and love, and we will be fearless and free.