Nothing great is ever accomplished when we give in or succumb to our fears. In today’s readings on this Easter Monday we hear of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus after the Resurrection and He needs to assure her before she hears what He has to tell her – be not afraid. When we reflect upon the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear today and will hear in the coming days of the Apostles who have met the Risen Lord. They are strengthened and although they do not know what exactly they will face (martyrdom for most of them) they are no longer afraid. Peter is proclaiming Jesus as Lord with power, conviction and a strength he previously did not have. We know that he boldly professed he would die for Jesus before Good Friday and then denied him in fear of what was taking place.
So this is for us too. We can doubt ourselves, which will lead to us doubting God. We are ordinary people called to do extraordinary things as Christians. We are not called upon to put complete faith and trust in ourselves, otherwise we are limited in what we can do to our own abilities and view or vision of the world. We can’t live or be any greater than what we are by our own limits. Instead, we are called to allow God to speak to us directly and seek to see ourselves as God sees us. The Bible is filled with accounts of ordinary people whom God has called to do extraordinary things. Fully human people whom God has called to do His work. And then He chose to become one of us to bring us even closer. Jesus, both God and man gave us His life so that we might sanctify the world and bring each other (through Him) closer to God and to heaven. We can trust that and have faith in our abilities here. We must face our fears and deal with them or we will never accomplish what we set out to do as Christian Disciples. This is a simple message, but exceedingly difficult for us to live which is why fear is mentioned so often in Scripture. Once for every day of the year, and to be contemplated and considered by each of us, every day of our lives and we can move past it.
May we, in this Easter season, rejoice in the fearlessness of the Apostles and Disciples of Christ and may we as one of these disciples face our own and with the grace of God move beyond. The world depends upon us to do this.