Strong words from St. John today in our first reading from 1 John 4. St. John talks about fear. More on that in a moment. We see fear, too, come into play in our Gospel reading. In Mark 6, we see Jesus walking on the sea. When the disciples see him, they were overcome with fear, thinking they were seeing a ghost. Jesus says to them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” Words for us to live by.
St. John says this about fear: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” We all have fears. Fear of rejection, fear of public speaking, fear of death, fear of spiders, etc. Why? We just heard it! Because we are not yet perfect in love. If we loved God and loved our neighbor perfectly, then we would truly fear nothing.
Have you ever heard this acrostic for fear? False Evidence Appearing Real. FEAR. We often manufacture things in our mind that are not objectively real. This kind of fear causes us to retreat into our comfort zones. The only thing good about a comfort zone is that it’s comfortable. But Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. In 2016, resolve to overcome your fears, step out of your comfort zone and love with abandon!
Father, forgive us for those times when our fears keep us from doing your will. Perfect our love, that our fears will be cast out. Amen.
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