External fears

Bandera (Visayas) - - NEWS -

WApril 29, 2017 Saturday,

2nd Week of Easter 1st Reading: Acts 6:1–7 Gospel: Jn 6:16–21 hen evening came, the disciples went down to the shore. After a while they got into a boat to make for Capernaum on the other side of the sea, for it was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. But the sea was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing.They had rowed about three or four miles, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and he was drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, “It is Me; don’t be afraid.” They wanted to take him into the boat, but immediately the boat was at the shore to which they were going. D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE (Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience) An unattractive girl gives her fiancé a picture as he was leaving to work abroad. To soften the impact of the unpleasantness of her looks she wrote this biblical line at the back of the picture: “Do not be afraid, it is I –John 6:20”. The story is pregnant with spiritual insights. Many of our worries come from externals. But if our interior life is strong these external sources of fears won’t rob us of inner peace. When the girlfriend wrote, “do not be afraid, it is I”, she was asking her fiancé to remember her inner goodness so that the way she looked in the picture won’t disturb him. If her boyfriend were incapable of looking beyond externals he’d be bothered even by a mere piece of photo paper.

A person with strong spirituality can settle comfortably in interior life when attacked by external fears. This takes us to the core of Jesus’ invitation to the Apostles in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus said, “It is me; do not be afraid” to calm them down when they took him for a ghost while he was walking on the water. That would have brought them peace if they really knew him from the heart. But him they did not recognize. Jesus’ otherwise redeeming presence scared them instead. That was because their relationship with him was skin-deep.

The message “It is me, do not be afraid” which the girl wrote at the back of her scary picture would have been useless if the fiancé did not have any experience of her inner goodness. Jesus’ exhortation to the Apostles not to be afraid failed to calm their fears because their experience of Jesus did not go beyond external level. Many of them, in fact, had hidden motives when they followed Jesus. James and John, for example, followed him to get a chance to sit beside him in heaven.

Jesus has extended to us the same invitation to a deeper relationship with him. Cultivating such relationship is the only way to save our sanity amidst so many external sources of fear. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com.

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