Love Conquers Fear

Mark 6: 45-52
1 Jn 4: 11-18 / Ps 72: 1-2, 10, 12-13

Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
(Mark 6:50)

Without love we fear the specter
Of raging storms, wars, or disease;
Let the love of our Protector,
Jesus Christ put our hearts at ease.

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and He was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

Reflection

The disciples were not making any headway against the fierce winds that night on the Sea of Galilee. They had been rowing all day to escape from the pursuing crowds, only to end up distributing food to feed five thousand people in a deserted place. Already exhausted at day’s end, they were sent off again to the other side of the lake, while Jesus went up on a mountainside to pray. From His vantage point on the mountain, Jesus saw how His disciples were struggling with the waves and the wind, and decided to follow after them. But seeing Him walking on the water, the disciples were gripped with fear, thinking that He was some kind of specter. Their fears were only dissipated like the wind when Jesus came on board.

We all experience some form of turbulence in our lives, even when we are on a mission for the Lord. There are times when we may even despair in our efforts, like the disciples whose struggles against the waves proved futile. There are situations in life that can overwhelm us, especially when we have exhausted all our strength or resources, and it is at this point that we realize our need for God’s intervention. And yet we still fail to recognize God’s presence or the manifestation of His miracle due to our feeble faith and lack of discernment.

God’s Word assures us: “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” It is only when we realize how much God loves us that our fears begin to fade. As St. John pointed out in the first reading: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 Jn.4:18) Therefore, let our struggles be to overcome all forms of hatred in our hearts, forgiving all hurts, misunderstandings and offenses, and God’s love will surely become the rule of our lives. Let His Love be the gentle wind that makes our boat sail calmly to the other side.

Lord God, You are our Rock of salvation, our protection in times of trouble, and the Source of our strength. Increase the grace of Your love in our hearts, so that we may learn to love without conditions, and without fear, and so live our days in harmony and peace. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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