Jesus said, “Fear no one.” Those words have yet to reach the 21 century. The Apostles were afraid, and we are still afraid. Fear is one of the common human emotions. However, we can be certain that fear is never part of God’s will for us.
Jesus admonished His followers: “Why were you afraid? Why did you doubt? Have no fear, I am with you always.” Over 600 times in the Bible God tells us not to be afraid. There is a difference between taking precautions and living in fear. We certainly do not want to put ourselves in harm’s way, but we do not want to hide behind locked doors either. We would not be here if our Christian ancestors had not had the courage to share their faith, some at the cost of their life. Many a martyr embraced death happily, knowing that God would take care of them. Perhaps that’s what’s missing from our reality—a total dependency upon God’s care. We often act as if we are in control. We have apparatuses that give us the illusion that we are in control. Therefore, we can forget who is really in charge. Our lives have changed drastically over the last months. The numbers go down, the numbers go up. Riots, killings, prejudice are at an all time high. If indeed we think we are in charge, we are not doing a very good job. Plagues, wars, famines have been part of human history, yet here we are. We have tried to destroy the enemy, at times only to find that the enemy is the person we see in the mirror. The enemy is sometimes within. God, in His wisdom, knew that we would be helpless without His direct intervention. So, He sent His Son as one like us, to show us how to live. Jesus showed us that the way to freedom is forgiveness and love. But forgiveness is not profitable. Love does not always satisfy the ego. We resort to other ways with little regard for the truth of the Gospel.
Evil is at the center of all forms of violence—from the violence that happens in our homes to what we see on the streets. Claiming personal responsibility for our world is the missing link. If a creature from outer space were to ask us, “Who’s in charge here?” How would we respond? Or if the creature would say, “Take me to your leader.” To whom would we point? Does any person come to mind? Something to think about. (In an orphanage I visited in Mexico I asked the same question. “Who’s in charge here?” The child responded by saying, “We all are. Every one of us is responsible because this is our home.”) Consider how different our world would be if each one of us would take responsibility for what happens in our world.
Speaking of responsibility, Happy Father’s Day. We do not often say, nor can we every say “thank you” enough for all that you are. Father’s, like St. Joseph, are unsung heroes. Not all, because there are some sad stories, as with some mothers. Not all fathers have lived up to their vocation. Any man with the correct physical equipment can shire a child; but not every man can be a father. A true father helps us not to be afraid, especially of the dark. He’s a man who can dry our tears, listen to our pain without judging, and can laugh with us. Fathers don’t just drop from a cloud, they allow themselves to be molded by God, whom we call, “Our Father”. No dad is perfect; just a person who is willing to keep trying, over and over to forgive and he doesn’t run away. We know that there are lots of places where we can run away. A real Dad wants his children to have a better life than his—he protects his family—that means supervision and what is seen on the TV, cellphone, the games played. He is the peacemaker, the referee when there are disagreements. Since a Dad is the spiritual leader, the priest of his home, he has to be the first one to lead his wife and children in prayer. That’s what Father’s Day is about—not just the fact that a man is called father, but that he truly lives his vocation.
Fathers, we look to you for your continued leadership. Help us not to be fearful.