Thursday, January 7, 2010

Faith and Fear from the Beginning

Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. -- Matthew 2:13
I'm back from a week-long vacation and slowly getting caught up on parish-related items, including this blog. As we begin a new calendar year and as we consider the Gospel passage from Matthew appointed for the Second Sunday after Christmas, I am reminded of the constant tension between faith and fear as well as the context of fear and danger which has always existed, even since the time of Jesus' birth. With the news of the attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day as well as the five year anniversary of the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia, no one needs to be reminded that we live in perilous and uncertain times. Had Joseph, Jesus, or any of the disciples succumbed to fear, things would be very different now.

So, if we as Christians are to choose faith over fear, what does that look like, exactly? Since we are now in the season of Epiphany, I would submit that it looks like letting the light of Christ shine in the darkness. It means stepping out in faith, taking risks, and asserting in word and dead that love and light conquer hate and darkness. As the prologue to the Gospel of John (appointed for the First Sunday of Christmas) states: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

Our response is thus a continuous assertion that faith ultimately wins out over fear. As we enter the new year at St. Edward's, we continue to live out the Benedictine values of stability, obedience, and conversion of life to the best of our ability and with God's help. Happy New Year, and Blessed Epiphany!

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