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.
Have you ever heard this acrostic for fear? False Evidence Appearing Real. FEAR. 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 perfectly, then we would truly fear nothing.
I often like to think of Mother Theresa when I think of fear and love. She ministered to the poor and sick and dying on the mean streets of Calcutta and around the world. That would scare me to death. Yet she spent her life doing this. Why? Because her great love cast out the fear. The more we love and trust God, the less we will fear. Even spiders?? I can only hope to know.
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.