Encountering God and World in Scriptures

Light of truth

Lectio Divina – 20

Fr. Martin Kallunkal

‘So do not be afraid of them. Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Mt. 10:26-32).

There are numerous instances in the Bible where we are told not to be afraid. ‘Fear’ appears for the first time in the book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve disobeys God. It is written that they were “afraid because they were naked” (Gen 3:10). One knows that they were not wearing any clothes even earlier. What, then, caused them to fear? It should have been their new knowledge about their nakedness. Before the fall, they were wearing an invisible robe of divine grace. But, when they broke away from God, they saw how terrible they looked without grace. They were afraid of their own nakedness, and they were afraid of everything. If they had feared God and thus given no place to evil, they would not have come to the strange situation in which they were even afraid of themselves. Those who do not fear God will be afraid of everything. The option is plain: fear God or fear everything. Indeed, fear has big eyes. But, disciples should fear only God, even when they encounter universal hatred. No earthly or spiritual creature has absolute power over our soul. Fear is, of course, an aspect of survival instinct. Therefore, it is important to learn to fear properly. Fear of God is the only fear that saves us from all possible dangers to our life in this world and hereafter. Fear of God is neither a servile fear nor a helpless fear; it is rather faith in action. God cares for us and acts in and on our behalf. See how convincingly Jesus argues for the dynamic omniscience and providence of God in verses 29-31. St Augustine rightly urges us: “Let us fear therefore that we may not fear.”

Thank you, Jesus, for helping me to distinguish between the fear of God and other fears. I call to mind the good things that I hesitated to do or left half-done only because of multiple fears. There have been moments when I feared the harm others could do to me, my own weakness that might fail me, and, other various ills that might kill me. Sorry, Lord, for wasting my time and talents due to baseless fears. Arouse your Spirit within me, Lord, so that I may sing with David, “Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.In grassy meadows he lets me lie. By tranquil streams He leads me to restore my spirit. He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits His name” (Ps. 23:1-3).

Relax and get connected once again with the One who has called you to life and is leading you by hand. Listen to the Word that echoes within you always: “Be strong, stand firm, have no fear, do not be afraid of them, for Yahweh your God is going with you; He will not fail you or desert you” (Deut. 31:6-7).

Make an honest list of all your fears. Then, take each of them, weigh it against God; and see that God is infinitely greater than each of them. Placing your trust in God and fearing nothing start a new noble venture.

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