do not be afraid
Gospel Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent Year C – November 29th 2015
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
We have many fears in life.. Fears of body, mind, soul. Fears of natural disasters in many countries with the environmental crisis. Of bad health, loneliness, losing faith and meaning in life. We have fears of theft, violence and muggings. Or the death of one’s near to me, like a parent, a spouse, a child. Fears for the children and grandchildren. Fear of never being forgiven.
You can help get over fear of burglary by a burglar alarm. But there are spiritual fears. We are all divine because Jesus became a person. The word became flesh.
Going to a gym doesn’t work miracles but it does build us up for times we need more physical strength. Same with prayer – it builds hope and trust, that when fear is around, God is near. Also, we need to be aware – naming fears, awake both to who I am with fears and anxieties, and awake to God being near.
THAT IS CHRISTMAS
The Christmas message is ‘do not be afraid’ – we now promise to let the word of God into our lives in this Advent time.
We are always people with a friend, with meaning in life because of God. We are a people who care for each other for God’s sake. And that is Christmas.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger