I hear the whisperings of many:
“Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.” (Jer 20:10)
Fear is a very real part of our lives. God knows that. Maybe that is why, in many divine interventions throughout scripture, the encounter begins with the words “Do not be afraid”.
Blessed Pope John Paul II used those words when he opened wide the doors at the new millennium. There was a lot of fear at that time, if you remember. One of the major fears was a technological fear. Can you remember how all the police and fire fighters were told that there would be no vacation days given at the turn of the millennium? There was a supposed glitch in software that was going to cause havoc with computers. Planes might have come down, power plants might have scrambled, all sorts of horrible things were forecast.
What happened? It was a very peaceful night.
Fear not. Whether or not things end, as long as we live in Christ, we will live forever. That is the message that we need to bring to our world. Yet it is that very message that is often rejected. And, as the message is rejected, so is the messenger.
The prophets had their fair share of rejection. It came in the form of abuse, punishment, and death. Jeremiah was afraid for his life as he heard the people speaking around him because they did not like what he had to say. But Jeremiah was faithful to his message.
People may not like what we have to say as well, especially if we live faithful lives. Let ’em talk. As long as we give them the message that has been entrusted to us by God, we will be all right.
FAITH ACTION: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!”. Jeremiah spoke of the fear that many prophets faced. In our own lives, we are often afraid to speak out for fear of what others might say. Let fear not take over your lives this day. Instead, rely on the Lord for the courage needed to be His witness.
Remember, the Fridays of Lent are Days of Abstinence.
Refrain from eating meat today.