Thursday, December 18, 2014

Third Thursday of Advent: Be Not Afraid

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” – Mt 1:20

I find that when I perceive myself as self-sufficient in various aspects of my life, it is then that I live with the most fear, a fear that stems from knowing deep down that I cannot completely control every facet of my life. This fear prevents me from living with freedom, joy, and love. The irony is that society bombards us with messages of empowerment through independence, self-reliance, and other themes of self-actualization.

How often do we encounter situations where a child needs to hold her mother’s hands before entering class on the first day of school fearing the new environment, or when a shy young man needs his best friend to psyche himself up before approaching a beautiful girl he has been eyeing across the room for fear of rejection, or when a husband needs his wife’s affirmation to make a career leap? It is not that we depend on those we love to completely exorcise our fears, because in reality no one can do that. Rather we seek our loved ones to share our fears with, to be in solidarity with us in our times of uncertainty. And if we can share our fears and concerns with our parents, best friends, or spouse, how much more so can we trust God who loves us perfectly with our anxieties?

In today’s Gospel, Joseph experiences apprehension from taking Mary already with child into his home. However, it is his trust in God that dispels his fears. If we allow ourselves to emulate St. Joseph’s trust, we allow ourselves to experience the peace that comes from Emmanuel, God is with us.

Which fears of mine is an obstacle to peace this Advent season? St. Joseph, may your intercession grant me the grace to submit my concerns to the One who is with us always, yes until the end of time.

Reflected by Michael Jamnongjit

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