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Even If You’re Afraid

First Reading: Wisdom 2:1A, 12-22

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23

R. (19a) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

NAB

mar 11

I have a thing about fear. I tend to let it rule me.

I often find myself wanting to avoid circumstances or activities because of “potential” outcomes. Sharing my faith, sadly, can sometimes fall into that category. I have plenty of opportunities to witness—through my writing, in conversations with my friends, in responding openly to others brave enough to share.

But I’m much more comfortable in my little bubble, preaching to my choir, than letting my words echo where they may be rejected–or even more uncomfortable, challenged.

Our Lord’s actions in today’s Gospel really jumped out at me, sisters. Jesus was afraid to go openly, to be seen. He went to the temple in secret. Perhaps He knew the manhunt targeting Him could take Him away before the time was right. But He went anyway. He still came out of hiding to speak truth.

When I hide, it’s based only on the potential of an undesired outcome, which may not actually happen. But here we have Jesus—knowing with certainty what His brutal outcome will soon be—yet preaching truth anyway.

So what keeps me from doing the same?

I’m afraid to make waves. I’m afraid I’m might offend someone. I’m afraid it might cost me a friend. I’m afraid I won’t be able to speak truth with charity and grace. I’m afraid of the suffering that might result.

No one likes suffering. Even the Apostles denied their faith or tried to run because of persecution and fear. But for one key factor: they all returned to the mission. They all clung to the importance of God’s truth. They dug deep into the store of courage and grace that Our Father holds in reserve for everyone of His children, and they carried on.

Are you, like me, afraid that you’re not the perfect person for the job? Let’s remind ourselves that it’s God who supplies that strength, the charity, and the grace. And—as the Gospel today reminds us—the mission we’ve been given trumps our fears.

Remember: God controls the outcome. All He needs is our cooperation.

Let’s deliberately ask God in prayer today what our next step should be in carrying out the mission—and with His grace, commit to following through. 

photo credit

Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.

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