Tuesday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time
We have a lot of questions that, knowingly or unknowingly, are causing apprehension, worry, and anxiety in us. These are “fearful questions” about our personal life, our loved ones, and so many issues – and they point to the uncertainty of the future. “What if my plans do not materialize and I lose my security?” “What if I lose my job? What if my career or business goes south?” “What if the significant persons in my life reject me or abandon me?” “What if my illness gets worse and I only have a short time to live?”
The people that Jesus is addressing to in today’s gospel reading are also preoccupied with fearful questions about the future. As he talks about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, people think that he is alluding to the end of the world. That is why they ask, “When will this happen!”
However, the Lord says, “Do not be terrified… for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” What the Lord is telling us is this: “Do not be afraid… God’s plan will prevail… God is in control.” We need to believe and hold on to this truth.
I am not saying that we should just disregard these fearful questions. They can help us face our real situation, examine our values, out our priorities in order – that we may be able to do what is right and avoid disaster. However, these questions should not become dominant questions of our lives, for they are born of fear and not of faith. They can drive us to despair rather than lift us to new hope.
Unknowingly, we are allowing a lot of things (call them dark forces) to play their own fear tactics on us – as if we were just children. We know the power of fear… We know that fear has the power to control, to command, to exploit, to manipulate, to dictate. In many, often very subtle, ways fear victimizes and controls us. It causes confusion and anger in us; it leads us into depression and despair; it makes us feel close to defeat, destruction, and death.
Why are we so terribly afraid? Maganda ‘yung karugtong na tanong dito na ibinigay ni Henri Nouwen: “Would there be much fear if it was not useful to somebody?” Those we fear have a great power over us. What things (fearful questions) are you allowing to have power over you? Over your thoughts and feelings, over your choices and decisions, over your attitudes and behaviors, over your actions and reactions. Will you keep allowing them to have power over you? We need to believe and hold on to the truth that God is in control. We need to be reassured of God’s loving protection.