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Saturday, July 31, 2010

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St. Ignatius of Loyola

Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24
Psalm 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
Matthew 14:1-12

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the trap of fear

"Let Your saving help, O God, protect me." —Psalm 69:30

When threatened with execution, Jeremiah fearlessly proclaimed: "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what you think good and right. But mark well: if you put me to death, it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves" (Jer 26:14-15). Jeremiah stood his ground and refused to let himself be intimidated. He was often fearful in his life (see Jer 1:6, 8), but this time he was fearless, and "he was not handed over to the people to be put to death" (Jer 26:24).

"There was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Uriah...He prophesied the same things against this city and land as Jeremiah did" (Jer 26:20). Uriah, like Jeremiah, was a prophet with the same message to the same people. However, Uriah was put to death by King Jehoiakim and Jeremiah was not.

Jeremiah and Uriah were treated differently in this situation because they acted differently. Jeremiah was fearless while Uriah "fled in fear" before being arrested and executed (Jer 26:21-23). Yielding to fear does not result in escape, but tragedy. The way of victory, and sometimes the way of protection, is fearlessness.

Nevertheless, no matter how counter-productive and self-destructive yielding to fear can be, we seem to be trapped. We can't seem to stop fearing. Our will-power is not stronger than our fear. Only in a God-fearing (Sir 34:14), faith-filled (Mk 5:36), and loving (1 Jn 4:18) relationship with Jesus can we displace fear from our lives. "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom should I fear?" (Ps 27:1)

Prayer:  Father, may the love in my relationship with You cast out all fear from my life (1 Jn 4:18).

Promise:  "The Lord hears the poor, and His own who are in bonds He spurns not." —Ps 69:34

Praise:  St. Ignatius, a pagan soldier, suffered a broken leg in a war. He converted to faith in Jesus while reading the lives of the saints during his convalescence.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2009

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