“Rise, and do not be afraid.”

The WORD in Other Words by Brother Romualdo Abulad SVD (Philippines) for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

In the first reading, we see how Abram (soon to become Abraham) and all in his house have to courageously leave the comfort of their home and venture into an unknown land, all on the strength of the promise of an unknown Lord. 

In the second reading, we are enjoined by the apostle to work hard, suffer and lead a holy life, clinging not to our own skills and devices but to the unseen grace bestowed on us through Jesus Christ “before time began.” 

In the beautiful gospel text on the transfiguration of our Lord, we experience the awe of the apostles Peter, James and John amidst a “bright cloud casting a shadow over them.”  They then heard two voices: the first one was from someone unknown demanding that they listen to His “beloved Son”, and the second one from the Son Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was telling them: “Arise, and do not  be afraid.”

 “Do not be afraid.”  Because we are afraid to become poor, we succumb to cheating and corruption.  Because we are afraid of what others will say, we smartly find our way about through lying and mischief.  Because we are afraid of solitude and loneliness, we invent all sorts of diversions, which Marx famously calls the “opium of the people.”  Because we are afraid to lose our face, we fail to do what is right even at the expense of justice and righteousness. 

In ordinary life, even as we try our best to show a face of hard conviction, we are in truth a lot of cowards and fakes.  We fail to be authentic because of our psychological fears.  In this regard, we might learn a thing or two from a non-Christian like Jiddu Krishnamurti whose main teaching is actually that – how to liberate ourselves from our fears. 

All this is easier said than done, this which Christ enjoins us: “Do not be afraid.”  The truly courageous man is a good man, the man who can face the Lord at any time at all.

Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020

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