What’s troubling you? What are you anxious about? What do you fear? What are your worries?
Jesus tells us today, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me."
Yes, we have faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and second Person of the Trinity. But when Jesus tells us to have faith, I think he is talking about more than our intellectual assent to the creed. I think he is telling us, "Have faith and understand how much I love you."
In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. But that intellectual belief didn’t help Peter during Jesus’ passion. Peter denied that he knew Jesus and then hid. It was only after the death and resurrection of Jesus when Peter and the other apostles grasped how total was Jesus’ love for him. But grasp it they did. They become fearless. Most of them died as martyrs.
How fear is conquered? In the words of Sigmond Freud, "How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved."
After the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, the apostles were sure of being loved. In the Acts of the Apostles we read, "When they saw the boldness of Peter and James and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered: and they recognized that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)
When we are troubled, we need to look at the crucifix of Good Friday and believe in Jesus’ absolute, unconditional and forever love for us. Then we need to look at the empty tomb of Easter and realize that Jesus is alive and with us right here, right now. St. Paul might have said it this way: "Trouble, where is your victory, where is your sting? We have Jesus."
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/