From Our Pastor
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus says, “Fear no one.” He tells us to keep our priorities straight. He tells us that we shouldn’t even be afraid of people who could kill us when we stand for his truth. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”
In one of the most beautiful passages in the New Testament Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for next to nothing? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted; so, do not be afraid of anything. You are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows.” The Lord also says in that passage, “Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” This is not a popular concept in our society. We have emphasized God’s compassion and mercy, and this is good. But we tend to refuse to acknowledge his justice.
In our minds, we have transformed God into a sort of Barney figure that will not respond to our rejection of his life and laws. So, a man commits adultery, leaves his wife and children, and then says, “God understands.” Well maybe the “Barney God” of his imagination might forgive, but the real God who was present when marriage vows were made and who sees the turmoil a selfish man has thrust upon a good wife and beautiful children, his family, maybe the Just God has to consider justice as well as mercy.
If we sin but refuse to acknowledge our sins and seek forgiveness, we are, in effect, denigrating God. If we live with reverence and respect for the Lord, the biblical Fear of the Lord, then we do not have to be afraid of anything. If we live with reverence and respect for the Lord, in the biblical Fear of the Lord, then all those concerns of ours that the evening news delights in frightening us with diminish.
Will the world end this year? Maybe, probably not. But it does not matter as long as we are united to God. Will World War III erupt when we least expect it? Maybe, probably not. But it does not matter as long as we are united to God. Will people attack us for being Christian? Will we be disparaged because we are against abortion, against capital punishment, against warfare? We probably will be, but it does not matter as long as we are united to God. We have nothing to fear as long as we fear the Lord. 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 on your head are counted. Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Peace and all Good,
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
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