January 5, 2022
Wednesday after the Epiphany
Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we have a few references to fear — and to its perfect antidote, Love.
John continues to instruct us in prose that stuns us with its sacred clarity:
There is no fear in love,1 John 4:18
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
In our Gospel, we meet some pretty fearful disciples. First of all, they are still spinning from the avalanche of loaves and fishes gushing forth from the perfect faith of Jesus.
Today, they are rowing a storm-tossed lake in the pitch of night. Enough to strike fear into even a crusty fisherman’s heart! But wait a minute! As if all these scary things are not enough, here comes a ghost across the threatening waves!
And how about Jesus in this passage? A little nonchalant, or what?
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
Jesus wasn’t worried about the waves.
Jesus, full of Love, and eternally perfected in the Creator’s Presence, has no need or place for fear. He lives in the accomplished wholeness of God where, as Julian of Norwich says, “All manner of things shall be well.”
Like me, you may not think about your fears very often. But when I read this line from Paula D’Arcy, I consider that there are all kinds of unrecognized fears inhibiting us:
Who would I be,Paula D’Arcy
and what power
would be expressed in my life,
if I were not dominated by fear?
Fears. What are some that we may not recognize:
- Fear of feeling unimportant, overlooked, naive.
- Fear of failure, loss, death, loneliness, dependence.
- Fear of looking foolish, of making a mistake
- Fear of getting old, being sick, losing my comfort zone.
- Fear of meaninglessness, unusefulness, of being held responsible?
Could we go on and on?
But what about the biggest fear – of being unloved, and maybe even unlovable.
Dear God, as we pray today,
help us to grow into your amazing love for us.
Help us to recognize the fears that limit our love,
to cast them out upon the choppy waters of our life
and to live in your perfect freedom and joy.
Music: All Shall Be Well – Michelle Sherliza