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Genesis 12:1-4;2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9

Fear.  For almost everyone of us, it is a part of life, maybe a gnawing uneasiness, maybe a denied memory, maybe even a panic that paralyzes.  Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of risk, fear of looking foolish, fear of forgiving and fear of being forgiven, fear of speaking out and fear of standing silent--there are probably as many fears as there are possible human actions.  What each of them has in common is a basic lack of trust in God's faithful love and endless generosity.

The readings for today, this Second Sunday of Lent, each contain an instance of fear.  Certainly, seventy-five-year-old Abram was fearful as he obeyed God's instructions to pick up and leave his home, family and country for a strange land.  And there is Paul, encouraging a disciple not to be afraid of revealing publicly that he is a Christian, despite the consequences that may accrue.  Finally, we read of Jesus, calming three very frightened apostles who have thrown themselves to the ground in the face of the vision, the searing brightness, and the very voice of God the Father at the Transfiguration.  In each case, typical, maybe inevitable, human fears; in each case, a God Who understands, accompanies, reassures, and freely provides everything needed to overcome those fears and act.

Lent offers us a time to reflect on our own individual fears, to go deep within ourselves where we hide them, to accept them as human, to face them as hindrances to being and becoming the persons we are called to be.  Although it's a trip to freedom, that interior journey can well be frightening in itself.  But when we hesitate, when we stumble, even we fall during it, we can know for certain that Jesus will be right there beside us, gently reaching out His hand and saying once again, "Rise, and have no fear."

By Richard Super

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