Jeremiah was only 20 years old when called as a Prophet, so he was young. For forty years he warned all in Jerusalem that unless they turned back to God they would be captured and taken captive to Babylon, and 4,600 Jews were exiled there in the 5th century B.C.
Today he reminds us in verse 11: “The Lord is at my side, a mighty hero, my opponents will stumble, confounded by their failure.” Our response is: “In your great love, answer me God”. This brings us to the awareness of God’s Presence everyday in everything. It leads us into the gospel reading of Jesus’ instruction: “Do not be afraid” which occurs three times in this short passage. I asked myself why? Because, “I am with you” the answer given to all Biblical characters from Abraham right up to the Apocalypse 1:17; “Do not be afraid”. My experience of fear some years back was so great that I decided to share it here with you.
I was returning very late from work overseas one night and was accosted and attacked by four gunmen. I was terrified needless to say, and God seemed very far away. They wanted cash, robbed me and disappeared as soon as lights went on. They ran off with my bag so my pride was squashed and apart from a few bruises, kicks and pain, I recovered and got home. I found God in this awful experience much later on asked myself: “Why did I not remember that God was with me?” Do not be afraid!
It took a long time to discover why, but I was a changed person when I did and learned to forgive my attackers. Practise means progress.
We are more valuable than hundreds of sparrows, unique, creative, selfless, loving and peaceful. Jesus wants our availability, not our suitability. Are we not called to radiate God’s own unconditional and universal love to all we meet today? (Ps.107) Allow God to invade, permeate and possess me, then I will no longer be fearful and like the wee sparrows will sing and give praise to God for the rest of my life by trying to make it the best part of my life.
A few questions may help:
- Am I slower to ask for help than to give it?
- What do I fear most?
- Can I face my fears by remembering that the fear of danger itself is ten thousand times more terrifying than the danger itself!
- Am I a forgiving person or do I hold on to grudges?
Dympna Travers OP