Calm Your Fears
Homily for Friday of the Fourth Week in Easter
At least some of us here today like to watch “America’s Got Talent,” or AGT as it is known more familiarly. Often times during this program, we see the contestant before he or she actually walks out on the stage. Almost all of the contestants share one common factor; namely, they are extremely nervous. They fear that they will be rejected and that the judges will hit the red button before them while they are in the middle of their act.
Anxiety is something that we all have known. We become anxious at the beginning of a new school year, as we begin a new job, as we are transferred to a new location, or one of many different factors in our lives. The month of May brings about many changes for people. Students graduate, young people are confirmed or receive their first communion, graduates seek a job, and the wedding season begins in earnest. It might even be fair to say that May should be subtitled: “The Month of Anxiety.”
Now let us place ourselves as characters in the Scripture readings for today. As I mentioned yesterday, we hear the second part of St. Paul’s exhortation to the members of the synagogue of Antioch. He is speaking to people who have followed the same religious path all of their lives just as their ancestors have done. St. Paul is exhorting them to change their allegiance by accepting Jesus Christ as their Messiah. I am sure this caused them anxiety.
In the Gospel, Jesus is trying to calm the apostles after he has announced that he is leaving them, after he has told Peter that he will deny knowing Jesus before dawn the next day, after he has announced that he knows that one of them will betray him. I can’t imagine any of them not being anxious and fearful.
Jesus has the same answer for them, for the citizens of Antioch, and for us as we deal with our anxieties. He asks us to remember that he is going before us to prepare a place for us in God’s Kingdom. Secondly, he states unequivocally that if they follow him, he will show them the way, he will provide them with the truth, and he guarantees that they will live with him forever. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
Life has uncertainties, loss, and unpleasant times that trouble our hearts. Christ is with us now, walking through those challenges, and he is before us, preparing a place in heaven. He assured our future with him in Heaven through his death and resurrection. May we each make him the center of our lives.