Dear brothers & sisters,
One kind of human experiences is “fear”. “Fear” or “being afraid” seems to be a daily experience, if we mind it. When we get up from our sleep in the morning, we are afraid wether we get up lately or not. We are afraid of being late when we wake up in the morning, because in the morning we have to prepare the breakfast for our family, before we go to our workplace, and the children to the school. And when we know that we are not late to get up in the morning, soon after that, we are afraid wether the children get up on time, or wether they will behave well or not this morning.
Besides of these daily-fear-experiences, we know that there are more serious experiences of fear we often face, like: fear of sickness, fear of a crash, fear of being hurt, fear of being misunderstood, fear of being blamed, fear of being treated badly et cetera. We also have fear of being impoverished, fear of having little debit or no savings, fear of being dismissed from our job, et cetera.
How do we face these “fear” feelings, which often operate like ghosts? How could we make a better understanding about these experiences, which often make our sleeps and wakes ill at ease? How do we make a “good gevernance” upon these terrible things?
These fear-experiences and the problems of facing them well, really, are universal. We know this from the experience of the Prophet Jeremiah, in the 1st reading. A great man, even a prophet, had to face terrible situations in his life. As Jeremiah said: “I hear the whispering of many: ‘terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce him’”. Let us look at the kind of situation he had to face, as he said: “All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine”. And let us see the intention of these friends concerning Jeremiah: “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him”.
This situation of the prophet is a situation that is familiar to us also, isn’t it? Sometimes we find a kind of friends or neighbours, even brothers and sisters who make the life of others more terrible. The ones who make terrible things to terrify, and to make others being overwhelmed with fear. Now we often hear words like “terror”, “terrorist”, “terrorism”, explaining the situation of fear, that could turn off our courage and freedom.
In the 2nd reading we meet the most terrible thing we could find in the world: sin. And this “sin”, “the most terrible thing ever found in the world” produces the most terrifying experience ever found: death for all men.
So, how could we face this situation of fear, we who are trembling and powerless in the presence of sin and the death it brings? How could we, alone as human creature, and human in nature, could stay alive firmly and freely before this killing situation?
In this stance, I think, we could believe to find the answer from the readings. The kind of answer that assuming some kind of faith inside our seemingly trembling and powerless heart. Besides of our being afraid, there must be some kind of faith flowing from the depth of our firm and powerful heart. The faith that be held firmly concerning what St. Paul called: “the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ”.
“The grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ”. This is the answer the readings give to us facing our situation of fear. This is the answer for our terrible experience. This answer is Jesus. He is the answer. He is the grace of God and the gracious gift for us to face our terrifying world and our terrible life. From him the grace of God and the gracious gift “overflow for the many”, that is, for us all.
This Jesus, in the Gospel, said: “Fear no one… And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna”. This voice of Jesus, the voice of “no fearing”, is a rare voice we could hear now in this terrible world. This “voice of courage” is simply a voice of the beatiful and kind heart. A kind of heart, which could see that everything in this world would not be lasting without our Father’s knowledge. And that the reason for not to fear lies in our worth before the Father.
As jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”.
In the 1st reading we find the prophet Jeremiah said: “The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion. My persecutor will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion.” May we could say the same words like the prophet in our daily situation. When we must face a terrible situation, may we could stay in a joyful manner of ones who have faith, and pray always with our most beautiful and kindest heart, just like the prophet did in the previous time:”O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!”
Surabaya, June 22nd 2008