Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Matt 10:26-33
Fr. Jerry Orbos, a Society of Divine Word priest told a story of a Buddhist, a Muslim and a Christian who were debating whose God is the greatest. To settle the issue once and for all, they decided to jump from a 20-storey building and find out whose God will save them. First, the Buddhist shouts, “Buddha!” jumps and lands on the ground dead in a few seconds. The Muslim shouts “Allah!” jumps and wonder of wonders carried by a wind and lands safely.
It was the Christian’s turn. With all trust he shouts, “Jesus Christ, in you I entrust my life!” and jumps. As he was falling past the 6th, 5th and 4th floors and nothing was happening, he was last heard shouting “Allah! Allah! Allah!”
Today’s gospel Jesus says: “Do not be afraid…” for three times, but “be afraid of the one who can destroy both the soul and the body,” and that is God Himself.
According to Sharon Faelten and company in their book entitled Take Control of Your Life that fear is natural. There are some people who are afraid to walk through dark alleys late at night; others fear vicious dogs, killer bees or rabid bats. Still others are afraid to skydive… or stand under tall trees during thunderstorms. These are reasonable and appropriate fears.
Faelten continued that a phobia, by contrast, is irrational and inappropriate. It’s the dread of being trapped in a place or circumstance that would upset most people. The most common phobia treated by therapists is agoraphobia or fear of venturing out into open spaces which includes fear of public places like stores, malls, restaurants, theaters or fear of public transportations especially when traveling alone and fear away from safe places, persons or objects.
Other common phobias include social phobias such as fear of speaking, writing or eating in public. Animal phobias such as fear of dogs, cats, birds, insects, spiders and snakes; fear of blood (hemophobia such as fear of medical procedures like getting an injection and others), afraid of water hydrophobia) and many more.
If you are afraid, you are not alone because in the United States of America there are 13 millions of different cases of fears happened. If these fears will not be healed a person will have nervous breakdown, tension, stress and shameful. If a person is ashamed, he is afraid, according to the book by Faelten and company.
If there are millions of fears, I would like to share with you five types of fear, as mentioned by someone, which I think could only mostly our relationship with ourselves, others and with God. The five types of fears and the following:
First is fear of rejection. It is because others’ reputation is destroyed and broken. If we will not do this or that, they might reject us and we will be in the limelight.
Second is fear of being hurt again. We don’t want to be hurt again. We may get hurt because we are overlooked, unappreciated or misunderstood. It may even compel us to close ourselves from any involvement for fear of being hurt again. I experienced this myself. It’s very painful if you are misunderstood even though if what you are doing is right. What I did and said was being misunderstood. I came to a point that I have to be indifferent. In the beginning, this experience depressed me a lot. But I realized at the end that none of these should diminish my spirit to continue doing well. My heart should be too big enough to allow such hurts to keep me from reaching out to people who may be worse off and hurting more than I am. Jesus said: “Do not fear who kill the body but cannot the soul; rather, fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”
Third is fear of anticipation of what might happen. The most prevalent statement by us is: “What if…” “I will do this or not do that, what will happen to me?” The person who asks these types of questions are afraid of.
Fourth is fear to take responsibility and act on it. We want to be blest by God and yet we are afraid of the demands that the blessing will ask us for from all of us. We want to go and have reconciled with our enemy and yet we hesitate to do so. We like so much to give comments and evaluations but we don’t want to be subjects of criticisms and evaluations.
Fifth is fear to tell the truth. That is why there are so many things happened that up to now are unresolved because we are afraid to tell the truth. We are denial kings and denial queens.
But Jesus says: “Do not be afraid…” for three times. He gives us an assurance that if we are rejected or being hurt or afraid of what will happen to us or ready to take responsibility or ready to tell the truth, He will acknowledge us before His Father in heaven. So let us rejoice and be glad if we are doing these.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A