Meeting Jesus in Our Fear

Homily for Monday in the Octave of Easter

Fear is a pretty powerful emotion for us as humans, an emotion that can have a strong effect on our minds and bodies. And whether we like it or not, all of us struggle to some degree in our response to fear when it comes into our hearts.

Many things might cause us to feel afraid or anxious in our lives: the threat of death (either perceived or real), failure, public speaking, being alone. Or it could be something like worrying about a family member’s health or their spiritual well-being. It could even be something related to fulfilling our obligations, such as wondering if we’re going to have enough to make ends meet this month, especially in our current economic situation. All of us have things that we worry about, things that lead us to fear. Fear is a natural and real response that can be challenging to manage. Thankfully, we’re never alone in that.

In our Gospel this morning, we’re told that the women who had come to the tomb were overjoyed, yet fearful. “When Jesus came to the women with His overwhelming resurrected presence, their fear disappeared, and joy flooded in.” The women allowed the Lord to meet them in their fear. They were able to set aside their preoccupations, their sadness, their gloom. And doing so allowed them to meet and receive Jesus. “The women made space in their hearts to approach, embrace, and do Jesus homage.”

On the flip side, we have the example of the Jewish authorities and their response to the situation that the Resurrection presented. They, too, were afraid. Yet, instead of pausing and trying to discover what the Lord was speaking to them in the midst of that fear, they responded with deception. They remained in their hardness of heart and it prevented them from seeing the glory of God at work.

That should raise a question for us: who are we like? When fear is creeping into our hearts, what do we do with it? Do we get caught up in it and allow it to lead us down a path that pulls us away from the Lord? Or do we bring those situations to the Lord and allow Him to meet us in the midst of them?

The Resurrection didn’t just open the possibility for us dwell with the Father in Heaven. It opened the door to total freedom – freedom from all the things that lead us away from God. Today, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to unleash the power of the Resurrection in our lives, filling us with the courage to turn to the Lord in our fear so that we might be led into a true experience of freedom in our lives.

Photo: Mountain Sunrise by Alice Donovan Rouse. Used under Unsplash license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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