Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Think about your worst fear. You know, that thing you fear the most. That thing or person that causes you to have sleepless nights, over eat, weep uncontrollably when you are all alone. What is the worst that could happen? You lose your job, they find out you lied, you are humiliated? Well, that could happen. But never forget that God loves you, he really loves you. God will never abandon you. God will save you. God’s plan is to have you with him for all eternity in his Kingdom. A place where there is no fear, no crying, no hurting, no pain, no dying. So even if your worst fear comes to pass, the Good News is that you still end up with God. We fear hurt, pain, embarrassment and loss. That stuff really scares and disables us.  But with God, there is endless love and mercy, peace and consolation even in moments of fear and hurt, embarrassment and loss. God’s grace and God’s gifts are more abundant than all our fears combined. Where there is fear, there is much more grace. When we are frightened, God’s arm holds us even tighter. When we are scared, know that we are never alone for God is with us. He will never abandon you. The things that should frighten us the most is our pride and our numbness to sin. These separate us from God’s gracious gifts, from his holy presence, from his amazing grace and that should really scare us. We need God. We really need him. We cannot live without him. Holy Fear is our strength in moments of temptation, in moments of doubt, in moments of pride and even moments of sin. In these moments, God’s grace floods us with the knowledge that he loves us, the understanding that God is greater than all our fears, the wisdom to overcome our sin and the strength to get over our prideful condition. But we must cooperate with God’s grace. We must become meek and humble of heart like Jesus and surrender to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fear can disable us, imprison us, shut us down, cause fatigue and fill us with anxiety but only if we let it. Jesus says, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” God is always with us. He never leaves us alone. In stressful moments, or in moments of great fear and anxiety, say a prayer. Say to Jesus: Jesus, I trust in you!

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