Christian Movies and Saints
The study groups take a break during the summer from homework and enjoy movies with a Christian theme or about a saint.
You are invited to join us for one, two, three or all of the movies.
Times: Monday 9:30 - 11:30 am
Monday 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Where: East Meeting Room off the lower level of the church.
Listings will be right here.
July 10 Edith Stein: The Seventh Chamber
July 17 Letters of Mother Teresa
Time Change for this event: Monday 9:00 am – noon
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Let the Scriptures Speak
Second Sunday of Easter A
Divine Mercy Sunday
June 25, 2017
Dennis Hamm, SJ
Reading I: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Responsorial Psalm: 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Reading II: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but
cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one
who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. (Mt 10:28)
The Fear That FreesFear God? This Sunday's Gospel flies in the face of what many current preachers and teachers take for granted is their task: to help people get over their fear of God.
Jesus says just the opposite. On the one hand, after predicting a time in which his disciples will experience their state as being like “sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mt 10:16), undergoing scourgings, being handed over to death by family members, Jesus says not to be afraid of such people. They can only kill the body but cannot touch the soul. On the other hand, Jesus says, “Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” In other words, fear God. But rather than leave us with that bald statement, Jesus hastens to add a thought “on the third hand”: God whose eye is on the sparrow, cares even more for you. Indeed, he even counts the hairs on your head. So do not be afraid. You are worth much more than a whole flock of sparrows.
Are we not deeply pained when we discover that a word or act of ours has hurt a parent, a child, or a good friend?
Did the third hand take away what the second hand gave? Jesus is saying that the One who holds the ultimate power over you is the One who loves you the most. How, then, does exhortation to fear God apply? Jesus is here simply recalling a theme deep in the Hebrew tradition, the intimate connection between fear and love of God (see Deuteronomy 10:12; Psalms 33:18; 103:11,17; 118:4; Prov 16:6). What is meant by fear in these contexts is a complete awe and reverence for the Creator, such that one always acts out of profound respect for this Maker, Rescuer, Sustainer, and Judge of all.
If “fear” of God has such a positive meaning, why, then, does Scripture insist on negative words that are best translated “fear” in this case? Analogy may help. Every parent wants to instill in a toddler a healthy fear of fire, deep water, and automobile traffic. Not to respect the danger of such things is to be dangerously out of touch. This is not the craven fear that would keep the child from eventually learning to cook, to swim, and to drive a car. It is a healthy fear that instills a respect for the power of such things. Similarly, biblical fear of God is a deep sense of God's otherness and ultimacy, such that all of our actions are governed by our wonder and respect for this powerful Other.
Perhaps a more helpful analogy is the fear we have of offending those we love the most. Are we not deeply pained when we discover that a word or act of ours has hurt a parent, a child, or a good friend? And do we not fear offending them? That's the fear Jesus would have us feel toward the Father. When our love life is governed by this fear of God, we discover that we really have nothing to be afraid of. “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Dennis Hamm, SJ
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