Do not be afraid

Fr. Anthony Le

Fear is an emotional, spiritual response to whatever we consider to be dangerous. things that threaten to take away our peace, sense of security, perhaps also stability. While we could have rational fear or we could have irrational fear.

Like my sister, she has a great fear of darkness. She couldn't sleep without the light on. Maybe some of you have fear of snakes, or maybe spiders, maybe fear of your pastor as well. or maybe pastors or deacons have a fear of their parasites. They never know fear could be a very strong driving force that pushes us to act in a good or in a bad way.

Let's just use some examples in the bible that we have today. Isaiah being called to be a prophet, a prophet to all nations, to God's people. Specifically what was his excuse: I am a man of unclean life, I belong to an unclean nation, In a way. Actually he's saying I cursed too much, I’ve sin too much with my tongue, I probably committed seven sins every day - even the church men commit seven sins every day. His fear was: well I'm sinful and you are too great, and this mission is so big, so important, that I excuse myself. Fear led him to say no. Something similar happened to Peter. Peter looked at Jesus, after Jesus asked him to do something that Jesus was not an expert in. He was a carpenter by trade, by origin he was not a fisherman but he asked a very experienced fisherman to cast the net after they already worked all night long and couldn't get anything. Peter witnessed a great miracle, a great showcase, a power. He was fearful and he bended on his knees, staying away. I'm a sinful man.

Now, my dear brothers and sisters, when we could talk about it, we could using our mind and brain to articulate and think about fear. psychologically, emotionally. How it impacts our body and our mind, our soul, and all that. In the bible when we talk about fear, specifically we talk about fear of God, as a beginning of wisdom - both the first. The gospel portrayed this fear of the lord so magnificently.

Fear of the lord is not the same fear that we are facing danger. It’s not the same kind of fear that we fear a spider, or thunder, or light, or darkness, or Elevator, or your pastor. This kind of fear is a sense of awesomeness, a sense of wonder, the sound of that you are facing something so great, so wonderful, that you become fearful. Not because it's dangerous, but because it's too beautiful, too wonderful, that you have to really look at that, and say trampling. And that's what Isaiah and Peter witnessed the power and the wonder of God, and they couldn't believe what they heard with their own ears. One has been asked to be the prophet. You know who the prophet is. On God's behalf proclaiming truth, and correct people, and leading those living according to the way God wants. That is the greatest honor. It's not fear that we're talking about. Flight or fight sort of response to danger. The same way with Peter, that fear led him to an acknowledgement of how sinful he is. This actually is a positive thing. Man facing God has to have that sense of humility. I’m small compared to you lord, I am submitting myself before you, I’m actually letting you know I may ruin your plan, I am sinful and weak. If you chose me, you might have to put up with me.

That's exactly what Peter said: I'm a sinful man lord. I am full of it, in my thoughts, and my behaviors. I’m a fisherman, don't you know i drank a lot, and yet why did you choose me. Let me excuse myself. Stay away from me, because I am a sinful Man. How many times have we said exactly the same thing to our lord? Lame kind of excuse - lord of who I am, that you call. It’s not the question we should ask. We should ask lord: what I should do to really fulfill the mission you entrusted to me. At this point, our lord corrected Peter, and our lord corrected Isaiah. Don’t worry you're not going to speak with that unclean lips; I’m going to put my words in your mouth. You're going to speak what I wanted. Amazing isn't it? The same way with peter. You are no longer Peter saying what you want. You no longer catch what you think you want. I'm going to give you a new title - fisherman. You’re going to catch men and women on my behalf. You’re going to gather my people, you're going to proclaim God's word and his kingdom, not what you think. Oh isn't that amazing? Isn’t that amazing? It’s not so much about Peter anymore, it's about now. The mission that Christ entrusted to him. It is not so much about Isaiah and his sins. It is about the mission entrusted to him, and God will qualify those who deem themselves disqualified. God sanctifies those who consider themselves sinners.

Asked Paul, in second reading today, What did he say? He recalled the entire experience of being converted. But notice one sentence in that reading that he said: "I taught you that I preached what I have received". Paul did not come up with anything new. He has been passed along the message; he has been passed along a mission. It was not the mission of Saint Paul. It was the mission of God entrusted to 12 apostles, and those 12 apostles passed it along to Paul. Paul learned directly from God and those brothers of Jesus. Amazing isn't it? He admitted that it's not so much about him but about God. Almighty and his grace make it possible for him to be an apostle. Even though he thought he was unqualified.

So my dear brothers and sisters, do you have fear? Do we have fear? Of course, we should have. But the kind of fear that our lord is asking of us today, is not kind of chicken kind of fear, that we run around afraid of being persecuted, afraid of the world chastising us, afraid the world is attacking us. That is not a kind of fear. The fear that our lord is asking of us is the fear of the lord, the fear when we face the wonderful God, the fear that we experience a great sense of awesomeness, the fear that we acknowledge ourselves, that we are falling short, the kind of fear that comes with humility. Therefore, when we listen to God, exactly like Peter, he doubted, he was afraid, yet our lord said be not afraid Peter. Be not afraid. He corrected him, he assured him, and he blessed him. He entrusted him with something far greater. And it's the end result of that obedience, of that fear, of that kind of response. Oh he couldn't really haul the net above the water. Too much, too amazing catches. It's just too amazing. So my dear brothers and sisters, if we are worrying about the state of the church, let it be. But if we commit ourselves to the mission of the church, to the calling of our lord, really allows the good lord to lead us, not we lead him. And show him what he should do for us. Then i dare to say: we won't be disappointed. Going to be amazing, going to be amazing, not only in our lives, but also the life of the church as a whole. That's why I dare to say, that's why we dare to say, that's why we dare to believe, that's why we dare to gather. We ask our lord to bless us all, and instill in our heart that awesome fear of God – the beginning of wisdom

不要害怕

害怕是一種情感和心靈上的反應。當我們內心的平安或身體的安全受到威脅時,我們會感覺害怕。我們有理性的害怕,也有非理性的害怕。我的姐姐非常怕黑,如果不開燈,她就無法入睡。有些人怕蛇,也有些人怕蜘蛛。有些人怕神父。也有些神父或執事怕教友。害怕可能成為一個強大的驅動力,使我們行善或行惡。

在今天的讀經ㄧ中,天主召叫了依撒意亞,要他成為以色列-天主子民的先知。依撒意亞怎麼回答呢?他說:“我是一個唇舌不潔的人,生活在一個唇舌不潔的國家”。他的意思是:我和這個國家的人,經常口出惡言,說了許多詛咒的話。我,甚至整個教會的人,可能每天都犯了七罪宗。他擔心:“主啊,你太偉大了,而我是一個如此不堪的罪人。這個使命又是如此的重大,請你還是找別人吧”。害怕失敗,使他拒絕了天主的使命。

同樣的反應也發生在伯多祿身上。伯多祿是一位經驗豐富的漁夫,耶穌卻是一名木匠。伯多祿已經捕了一夜的魚,什麼也沒抓到。木匠耶穌卻指導漁夫伯多祿再撒一次網。伯多祿順從了。這次撒網的漁獲非常的大,網到的魚幾乎沉沒2 艘船。伯多祿目擊了一個偉大的奇蹟,非常惶恐,就彎膝下跪說:“請離開我吧!因為我是個罪人”。親愛的兄弟姐妹們,在這裡我們可以看出來恐懼在心理上、情感上,如何影響我們的思想和行動。

但是在聖經中,我們講的不是一般的害怕或恐懼,而是敬畏。特別是對天主的敬畏。聖經告訴我們:對天主的敬畏是智慧的開端。 對蜘蛛、雷聲、黑暗,或者對神父的害怕,和對天主的敬畏是不一樣的。對主的敬畏有一種震撼、驚愕和謙卑的感覺。主的顯現是如此的偉大,如此的美妙,使你我有害怕的感覺。不是因為危險,而是因為太美妙,太神奇,太偉大了。當你感覺主的臨在,你的全身、全靈都會顫動。依撒意亞和伯多祿就是親身體會,並聽到了天主。

依撒意亞被召為先知。先知代表天主來傳揚真理,糾正人,帶領人,去按照天主的方式生活。那是極大的榮譽。依撒意亞怕了。但是我們談的敬畏。不是那種能以逃避或對抗,來克服的的害怕。 依撒意亞與伯多祿一樣,感受到主的臨在使他產生敬畏。這種敬畏使他承認自己的罪。實際上這是一件有益的事。面對天主,我們必須有這種謙卑感。我比你小,我在你面前屈服,我告明我可能會破壞你的計劃,因為我是有罪和軟弱的。如果你選擇了我,你必須忍受我。 這正是伯多祿說的:我是一個有罪的人。我的思想和行為,都充滿了罪惡。我這個漁夫,還常喝酒,你為什麼選擇我?請讓我道歉離開吧!離我遠點,因為我是一個罪人。

讓我們想一想我們自己的行徑,我們是不是多次對我們的主說同樣的話呢?這真是一個蹩腳的藉口 - 你怎麼會找上我?不,這不是我們該問的事。我們該問:我應該怎麼做才能完成您託付給我的使命? 在這一點上,我們的主幫助了依撒意亞。他說:你別擔心,你不會用那不潔的嘴唇說話;我要把我的話放在你的嘴裡。你會說出我想說的話。這不是很奇妙嗎?

我們的主也幫助了伯多祿。你不再說你是漁夫。你不再捕魚了。我要給你一個新的頭銜-捕人的漁夫。你要為我去捕捉男人和女人,聚集我的子民,宣講天主的話語和他的國度。天主是不是很奇妙嗎? 從伯多祿與依撒意亞的例子,讓我們回到現在,來看基督和他託付給伯多祿與依撒意亞的使命。我們可以很明確的知道,天主會讓那些不合格的人合格,讓那些有罪的人成聖。

在今天的讀經二中,保祿陳述了他皈依的經歷。他說:“我教導你,我宣講了我所領受的”。保祿說他沒有什麼新的教導。他只是傳遞了他所領受的教導和他的使命。這個使命是天主託付給 12 位宗徒的,宗徒們將它傳遞給保祿。保祿說這個使命不是關於他,而是關於天主。儘管他認為自己不合格,全能者給他恩寵使他成為宗徒。 親愛的兄弟姐妹們,你們害怕嗎?我們會有恐懼嗎?當然,有時候會有的。但是今天我們講的是對天主的敬畏,不是那種可以逃避或對抗的恐懼。我們怕被迫害,怕世界懲罰我們,怕世界攻擊我們。這不是我們所講的的敬畏,當我們面對奇妙的天主時的一種偉大的敬畏。我們承認我們敬畏主,面對我們失敗的敬畏,我們謙卑下來的敬畏。就像伯多祿一樣,懷疑、害怕。但主說不要害怕。他幫助他,向他保證,祝福他。他託付他偉大的使命。這是服從、敬畏、謙卑的果實。他無法把所有的魚拖到船上來,實在是太多了,太驚人了。天主實在是太奇妙了。

親愛的兄弟姐妹們,如果我們擔心教會的狀況,那是當然的。讓我們委身於教會的使命,接受主的呼召,讓善良的主帶領我們。我敢說:我們不會失望的。祂的果實會是很奇妙的,非常的奇妙,不僅在我們,而且在整個教會的生活中,都會是很奇妙的。所以我敢說,我們敢說,敢相信,敢聚集在一起,祈求我們的主,保佑我們所有的人,在我們心中充滿對天主的敬畏—智慧的開端。