Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“Blessed are those who fear the Lord.” One of the ways I have been asked to consider fear in order to help me better understand and determine when something is truly fearful and to be feared, is to consider fear as the result of something or someone that is truly life threatening. To consider whether a specific incident, experience or circumstance is truly a cause to be afraid and full of fear. For me personally, this revelation has proven to be most helpful to me in the new way I view specific situations and how I now respond to particular individuals in these particular circumstances. For some, we are afraid of so many things and individuals that are not really life threatening but rather can be a nuisance. Or a situation we would rather like to avoid than to face, but in the end, with the help of God’s grace, we can get through and continue to live happily. Think of the most embarrassing moment or situation you could possibly imagine for yourself and hope that it will never happen. What if the most embarrassing moment you dreaded in life happened? Would that truly be the end or simply a terrible, embarrassing moment that potentially shatters your image and credibility, destroys your name and reputation, deflates your pride and ego, humbles you and causes you to be truthful, honest and just. True fear is a scary thing that causes us to pray with abandonment because we are uncertain if we will get through it or survive the ordeal. The sudden loss of fuel, power, food or communication in a remote deserted place can be fearful for some or perhaps a moment to trust for others. The sudden loss of cabin pressure on a flight heading to your next vacation destination can be scary and fearful but less scary while praying a rosary. We may be afraid of the dark or of certain creepy crawly things. We may be afraid to talk or perform in front of a large crowd or audience. We may even be majorly embarrassed when a lie is uncovered and brought to light. In the end, we can recover from our mistakes and try to heal what may have been broken. In the end, Holy Fear is the only fear. Not being afraid of God because God is not life threatening but rather life giving for perfect love, God’s love casts out our fear.