First Reading: Genesis 2:18-25
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 128:1-5
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
Gospel: Mark 7:24-30
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid. But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoeni'cian by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.
Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Yoda from StarWars
Fear is something we try to avoid. We raise our kids in the best neighborhoods we can afford, we sleep with nightlights, lock our doors, take self-defense classes. We try to prepare so that we won’t be fearful of the future—we save our money, plan for retirement, spend responsibly, and pay off our debt. We say our prayers and trust in the Lord.
In His Word, we are consistently instructed NOT to fear—see Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Psalsm 23, 27, 34, 56, 91, 112, repeatedly in Isaiah, and in all four Gospels, just to start. And in all these cases, we are instructed, as people of God, to NOT have fear. We are told that God will “Calm all our fears” (Zephaniah 3:17), and that “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7.)
So why then are we told in the Psalm today:
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!
Fear of the Lord, like general fear, moves us to action in a different way. When we fear the Lord we are compelled to walk in His ways. Unlike other fears, fear of the Lord can lead us to a higher place. It can lead us to Holiness, when it is coupled with more holy behavior. It leads us to a deeper faith. We can know the Lord, and love the Lord, and fear the Lord. And yet it will not be as a horrible master ruling through fear over his people. This fear, will not lead us to towards darkness, but rather it pull us closer to His Light.
Fear of the Lord prompts us to walk in His ways.
What fears are preventing you from walking in His ways?
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.