WITH ST. MARY'S
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT
Do not be afraid of where God is calling you to.
SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT
Fear can be induced through many different types of things. The greatest trigger for the sense of fear, though, is the unknown. As humans, we want to feel safe and secure, aware of our surroundings and comfortable in our environments. However, every single time God or His angels have a direct encounter with human beings, their first words always seem to be the same message: do not be afraid. Clearly, this indicates to us that encountering the divine is frightening. It is unknown and unfamiliar, and we seemingly do not feel safe or comfortable while we are in close proximity with God. His message, though, tells us that fear is induced by our separation from Him. If we are actively trying to be on the path to holiness, there is nothing for us to fear, because we become familiar with His overpowering presence.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
To follow the Will of God is frightening. So much of the fear that overcomes us when we resign ourselves to God has to do with the fact that we do not initially know where He is sending us. It seems unsafe to go where He leads, but we must trust that He has our best interest in mind; a great comfort in these moments is to recite the famous words of Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” When God sends us out of our comfort zone, He is sending us to where His Will flourishes and where we flourish. Simply put, bravery is better than safety. In this Sunday’s first reading, God tells Abraham to leave everything he knows behind for a land that he had never visited. He did not know how to get there, nor did he know what awaited him in that land. All he knew was that this was a land that God would show him. With courage and bravery, the humble and old Abraham picked himself up and moved, going where the Lord directed him. This simple act of just getting up and going where God directed him changed the trajectory of human civilization. It was this action that proved to God that Abraham was to be the father of His chosen people. It was this action that established the Jews and led to salvation for all of humanity. Abraham must have been afraid, but he went anyway because he knew God was with him. In the Gospel, Jesus takes only three of his Apostles to the top of a mountain and transfigures before them, with Moses and Elijah by his side. No longer was Jesus a contemporary or even a respected teacher for these three men; he was now revealed to be someone or something Divine. Combined with the voice of God from Heaven, this was an incredibly frightening moment for the three. Jesus’ response was to lift them up, have them look at the scene around them, and to reassure them not to be afraid. There is so much going around us on a spiritual level that is invisible to the naked eye. If we were to see the constant struggle between the Angels of God fighting for our souls and the evil spirits who wish to tempt us, we would collapse in fear. The scariest thing, though, is not the potential that evil can do to us; it is instead the sheer power of God, revealed to Abraham, revealed to Paul, revealed to the three Apostles at the Transfiguration. We are powerless to the design of God. This is extremely frightening, but so is taking the risk of obeying Him and following where He wants to lead you. The risk involved, though, is simply the unknown. He will care for you, protect you, and guide you. Your fear will be transfigured into growth and strength. All it takes is a simple assent to His call. Throughout the journey, He will constantly reassure you with the words He has told humanity from the very beginning - do not be afraid.
Family activity to do at home: A big misconception is that fear is induced by evil things. Why, then, does God and His angels always have to reassure His people not to be afraid? The truth is that Satan wants to offer us comfort, or else we would never accept his temptations. This is a crucial piece of information to learn as you work against temptation and you answer God's call to how you are meant to live your life. The earlier we know this, the stronger we will be later on in the face of fear. Part of Satan's temptation is acting upon the curiosity that many, especially young people, have in him. On this Second Sunday of Lent, while we reflect on the words of Christ that we ought not to be afraid, read the following story from St. Dominic on how Satan tempts us and how we can safeguard ourselves against his temptations.