Don't Let Fear Hold Your Back
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Wednesday between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord
1John 4: 11-18 tells us that if we show love to one another, we will grow in love, and God’s love will be “brought to perfection in us.” But what is the sign that tells us this is actually happening? If we think like Christ and love like Christ, we must be alive by the Spirit of Christ. This is what tells us we are truly in union with Christ, and that “he has given us his Spirit.”
To love like Christ is to help others be and become all they can be. Christ’s Spirit tells us “the Father sent his Son as savior of the world,” so we want to help others grow by sharing our knowledge and experience of Christ with them.
What holds us back?
Fear. We are afraid of failure. We think people are impervious to religion, or that we are inadequate to present it, or that even if we are discreet in our way of expressing the Good News, they may be offended.
Mark 6: 45-52 reminds us that the apostles felt this way in the early Church. Jesus had ascended into heaven (“gone up the mountain”) and left them alone to take care of his people. The “wind was against them.” They were being “tossed about” in stormy seas of controversy and persecution. They were scared. And when “Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea,” they “thought he was a ghost…. and were terrified.” When he got into the boat and “the wind died down,” they were “completely astounded.” They still didn’t get it. The problem was, “they had not understood the incident of the loaves.”
They did not understand that when Jesus took the loaves, “looked up to heaven, blessed, broke, and gave them to his disciples…” this was a preview of Eucharist. And Eucharist is presence.
When Jesus multiplied the loaves, neither Eucharist nor the Church was yet established, and the apostles had no responsibilities or anxieties. But Jesus’ words in this Gospel are a support for the present. They tell us that if we understand Eucharist, we understand that Jesus is always with us, always in the boat, and no contrary winds of culture can keep us from bringing “every nation on earth” to adore him. If we have faith to believe this, hope that overcomes fear, and love to keep trying, then through our efforts to give Christ to the world, we will see his love being “brought to perfection among us” until, in fact, “every nation on earth will adore him.”
Daily Practice: Keep trying to bring people to Jesus. Keep asking him to work with you, in you, through you.
Prayer: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” (Psalm 72).