Friday, June 28, 2019

Courage and Fear

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This week, I spent some time reading over my past blogs, looking over what I had written in the hopes of coming up with some kind of original thought this time around. The process had the added benefit of reminding me of all the lessons I’ve been trying to learn over the last two years. I also noticed nearly every time I blogged I mentioned the busy, almost hectic nature of the Cathedral. And thinking about the last month, it is clear to me that the bustle has not changed or diminished. We spent the last month welcoming literally (yes, literally) thousands of people for three things in particular: End of the School Year Masses; Grade 8 Farewells; and High School Graduations.

This time of year is a time of great change for young people. Grade 8 students are elementary students no more! They must venture forth into the world of high school! Grade 12 students have the even more unenviable task of beginning that great adventure into the land of adulthood, God bless them. Even those as young as our little Kindergarten friends must look forward to making a great transition.

Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of hearing a variety of valedictorian addresses and it has sparked in me a question: what advice would I give to these intrepid adventurers? Thinking back on my own experiences of transition, I recall several different adages being used by a variety of people who love me. However, I think the advice I would give would be to be brave, to have courage. Not that bravery or courage will stop you from feeling fear or anxiety, but some things are just too important and meaningful to stop because of fear. Besides, to quote a line I heard in a movie one time, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Recently, I was asked to prepare a reflection on last Sunday’s Gospel reading (Luke 9: 11-17). In spending time with the text, one thing jumped out at me: the sheer open and honest humanity of the disciples. In the passage, the disciples presented Jesus with a problem – a bunch of hungry people – and Jesus responded by telling the disciples to feed them. Their reaction to this call is amazing. I like to imagine it like this: ‘You want us to do what now??? Have you seen all these people? You know we only have five loaves and two fish?? And money is also not a thing we have?? How are we going to do this exactly…’. I can totally see the practical one of the group freaking out at Jesus’ call. I know I would.

Their reaction is, unfortunately, similar to how I often react as well. God calls me to something big or something I’ve never done before; I say ‘you want what now?’. But, as we see in Luke, Jesus isn’t deterred. He simply asks us for what we have, no matter how small it may look in our eyes, and transforms it into something amazing. Our courage then comes in the moments when we trust our five loaves and two fish (what ever those are in our lives) to God, especially in the face of the task at hand.

 

Lord Jesus, you lead us to extraordinary waters. Help us to respond to your call with courage, judging that what you ask of us is more important than our fears and anxieties.

As this school year ends and summer comes upon us, grant that it may be a period of rest and rejuvenation, so that new challenges may be met with confidence. As we all go forward in the journey of our lives, help us to follow where you lead.

 

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