Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
In the Gospel this weekend we hear the encouraging words of our Savior, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Fear is a normal part of human existence, indeed without healthy fear we would not survive as a species. We are cautious when driving, well, at least some of us are! We don’t put our hand on a hot stove, and, in this time of pandemic, we take precautions to safeguard our health and the health of others. Our loving God, who works always for our good, wants us to take care of ourselves and one another.
However, fear can have a darker side. Fear can limit us, can divide us, can drive us back within ourselves, and this is when we need Jesus’ words, “Do not be afraid.” When the disciples first see Jesus walking on the water they are terrified, fearing he is a ghost. They do not recognize their salvation approaching because they are gripped with fear. This viselike fear is something we all experience, something to which we can all relate. Too often this fear will paralyze us, depriving us of an opportunity for growth, for compassion or for joy.
I am always struck by the example of Peter. More than anything in life, Peter wants to serve Jesus, to be all that Jesus asks him to be. His love manifests itself as an impulsive exuberance. Peter is also human and suffers from the same flaws and imperfect faith that plague all of us. Despite this, he never hesitates to take the first step. It was perhaps this quality, among others, that caused Jesus to make him the first shepherd of His Church. He knew Peter was imperfect, indeed by then Peter had denied Jesus three times during His Passion, but he also knew that Peter would never give up; he would always cry, “Lord, save me”, confident that Jesus would respond.
In the first reading Elijah expects to encounter the Lord in the raging wind, the earthquake or the fire, but Lord comes instead in a tiny whisper. This week I invite you to join me in taking our fears to God, asking for His guidance and for His comfort, and then taking quiet time to listen to the whisper of His voice in our hearts.
I wish you and your loved ones continued blessings of good health, renewed hope, and great peace,
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission weekly bulletin.