19th Sunday in Ordinary Time C22
“Do not be afraid.” That sentence is one of @ 15 times where that is found in the Old and New Testaments. “Do not be afraid.”
Abraham set out on journey to a land promised to him by God. He left his homeland, the familiar, most of his relatives, not knowing where he was going. But he believed in the promises of God; he was not afraid. Then, he was promised a son and, even more remarkably, he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore. Despite Sarah his wife being sterile and he who was as good as dead, he bought into the promise. Lo and behold it happened! When he was asked that he offer Isaac, his only child, as a sacrifice to God, he made preparations to fulfill what was asked. Maybe he believed that God would come to Isaac’s rescue, perhaps even raising him from the dead. His trust would be rewarded for, as he raised the knife, God intervened.
In the first reading, the ancestors ate the Passover meal with sandals on their feet and their robes tucked up so they would be ready to follow Moses to freedom. They set off, not knowing what was going to happen to them. They were not afraid. Although they were tested and failed numerous times and tried the patience of both God and Moses, but they continued their journey.
We are also on a journey. We walk by faith and not by sight and are led by hope of things unseen like Abraham and all of our ancestors in faith.
“Do not be afraid.” What Jesus asked of his disciples then, he also asks of us ― to give away some of our goods, not to be still, to be ready for what is coming rather than satisfied with what is. We can’t bring about what we want and hope the world to be without leaving behind our fears and pessimism. To bring about the future, we have to be open to change, as hard as it may be. Faith calls us to take a chance and endure risk.
We are called to be faithful servants who act in the stead of our master, doing what we are supposed to do when he is away, not only minding our “p’s and q’s” when others are watching us. One person I met long ago said, “There is no vacation from your vocation”. Our shared vocation is to follow Jesus always and in all ways.
If we do, there’s no reason to fear. “Do not be afraid.”