Fear of Others

John 20:19-23:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”


How often in life do we fail to do something because of the fear of “others”?  Fear is one of the biggest motivators in the world.  But usually, our fear is placed in the wrong location.  Rather than fearing going to hell, we fear what someone might say to or about us, what our employer might do to us, various indeterminable outcomes, etc.  The Disciples of Jesus were hiding in the upper room – they were so afraid of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Jews, and Romans that they had the doors locked.  Just imagine what an upper room in May in Jerusalem would have smelled like with at least 11 men crammed together – and, who probably weren’t taking showers or baths!?  That’s how afraid they were…  Jesus ended all of that when He bypassed the locked door and showed-up to give the Disciples His Holy Spirit.  That was the Game-Changer – when the Holy Spirit was breathed on them by Jesus.  From there, all of the Disciples lived lives of utter devotion, piety, and affliction – most dying horrific deaths as Martyrs of the Early Church.  But they weren’t afraid of anyone, anymore – they had the Holy Spirit.  So, when we’re feeling afraid, in despair, fearful, isolated, etc., we need to remember that, through our Baptism in the Holy Trinity, we, too, have been given the Power of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul said it so well in His letter to St. Timothy (2 Timothy 1:7), “God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.”  So, let’s recalibrate our fear, remembering that the only Thing that we should fear is God – and that all other fear is just a waste of our time and a distraction from the Mission.

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