The Destructive Power of Fear

July 5, 2017 – Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew (8:28-34)

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?

Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”

They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.

The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district
.

 
Reflect: The whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district. Jesus just delivered two people who were possessed by notorious and disruptive evil spirits, but the townspeople come out to beg him to leave their district. They let fear guide them. Instead of recognizing the liberating spirit that Jesus unleashed over the two demoniacs, the people focused on the destruction of the swine – an external manifestation of the evil spirits. The Savior of the World was in their midst, but the Gadarene people did not have hearts and minds open and receptive to his love and mercy. How often do we let fear guide us? Fear can take hold and direct our hearts and minds far from God. We look for answers to our problems in the wrong places. Even if God has not answered our prayers in the way that we expect, he is always with us. Quick to hear us and lavish in his love and mercy – but we need the grace to recognize him and his action in our lives. Let us ask God to lead us and guide us at all times so that we can conduct ourselves with the knowledge and certainty that the Lord of Lords is in charge of our lives.

Questions: How am I permitting fear to keep me apart from recognizing the true presence of Jesus in my life? Do I turn to Jesus first rather than only after having exhausted all other earthly resources? Can I ask Jesus today to lead and guide my perspective and my decision-making?

Pray: Loving God, you are my hope and my salvation. Lead and guide all aspects of my life. Take away from me the spirit of fear so that I may walk in confidence knowing that you are always with me.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal: Pray for us!

Saint Elizabeth was named after her great-aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She was a mother and queen of her country. She was especially renowned for her love and care of the poor; as well as being a peacemaker within the royal family. Elizabeth became a Third Order Franciscan. She is particularly recognized as the patroness of Catholic charities.                                      

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