Fear Not


A story is told about a man who boarded a plane for a long flight. During the travel, the pilot announced that they would be passing through a storm. They were asked to have their seatbelt fastened. Then the storm broke. There were strong thunder and lightning. The passengers became frightened as the plane was tossed in the air current and would drop in many air pockets. Some people panicked as things were falling from the luggage bins. Others began to pray. The man himself felt frightened with the thought if they could survive the storm.
But among the passenger he saw a small girl. She was not disturbed at all by the thunder and lightning and noise. She continued playing with her doll. While others were frightened, she was completely composed and unafraid. He could not believe what he saw.
When everything returned to normal, he asked the little girl why she was not afraid despite the storm. The child replied: because my dad is the pilot! He is taking me home..
There are many things that can frighten us like earthquake, tsunami, strong rains, flood or landslide. Just this week a couple died in a landslide in Naga when a big boulder from the mountain fell on their home crushing them to death while they were resting around 6:30 PM.  These natural calamities bring anxieties and concern. Others are caused by human factors  such as financial crisis, unemployment, robberies  or terrorism.
In the First Reading  (Is 35:4-7) from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah is very encouraging. Here we have an indication that times were bad. They were in a crisis situation. Life was difficult and challenging. People were getting discouraged and frightened. But God tell the people through the prophet: Be strong. Fear not!
We might be in a similar situation. We are tempted to doubt the power of God. But God continues to assure us that this period of doubt; this state of questioning or permissiveness will pass. The season of storm and darkness will also be over. Soon,, many who have been blind will see again. Many who had closed their ears and have become deaf will listen once again. There will be a spring time of faith – a renewal in the world because God’s power will make all things new (cf. Mk 7:31-37).
The Lord, instead, is inviting us to do three things:

1.      Do not Worry:
We accomplish nothing when we worry. It does not help us solve our problem. It even increases it! Besides, worry and fear are not good for our health. They increase stress. And can lead to an early death. It also puts our focus on the wrong direction. By worrying, we focus on your problem, not the solution
2.      Believe
Have Faith in God. This is the healthy way of dealing with our fear. Worrying is atheism at work. Instead faith is the attitude of a believer. We entrust ourselves to God.
I was in Israel for five years. During my stay, it was a time of relative peace. Before I arrived, Palestine and Israel were in conflict. There was the Intifada or the popular uprising of the Palestinians against the Israeli. But still, there were suicide bombers who blew themselves up in buses or in malls that brought fright to people in Jerusalem and elsewhere. When I asked  one Filipina nurse if she was afraid of this, she said answered negatively. Despite these threats she entrusts herself daily in God’s power and protection.
3.      Be Patient
Prophet Isaiah says “Here is your God! He comes with vindication.” God will fulfill his promises. The spiritual regeneration will arrive.  The imagery of the messianic times are described to us: the blind sees, the deaf hears, the mute can speak.. All these are fulfilled in Jesus. So relax. Just be patient. Hold on. Keep the faith. God will restore all things in Christ.

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