Fear of the Lord

Readings for Wednesday June 30, 2010

First Reading: Amos 5:14-15, 21-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: Matthew 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district. (Mt 8:28-34)

Whenever I read this gospel passage, I can't help but ask myself what exactly was it that made the people ask Jesus to leave? Was just the pure shock of what happened? Did they misunderstand His intentions? Perhaps the swineherds misinterpreted their story which caused fear among the people. Or perhaps it was just fear of the unknown that caused them to ask Jesus to leave. And we can be sure that since He was asked to leave, that He did. This is important, because this illustrates the point that God never forces Himself upon us, He will always meet us where we are at, but it is always our choice whether we run from Him or embrace Him.

I think another thing that gospel passage illustrates is fear of the Lord. We all should have a fear of the Lord, but not an unhealthy one like the people in today's gospel. They had such a fear that their only solution was to drive Him away. This kind of fear does not allow for a the close personal relationship that God wants us to have with Him. The kind of fear that we should have with God is a healthy one. One that helps us recognize who He is and who we are. A fear that help us be obedient to our Creator at all times, not just when it is convenient. I also believe that the thing that we should fear the most is not being with God, now and after death. That is one of my biggest fears, I do not want to spend eternity anywhere other than heaven. This fear is not something that should hold us back, but rather drive us to know and love God, and to follow Him where ever He leads.

Let us always remember that fear of the Lord is not a bad thing as long as it is healthy and not misguided. As it says in the book of Proverbs: "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with in our lives and for all you provide us with. Lord, help us to have a healthy fear and to never doubt or stray away from you. Lord, we love you and thank you for your love. We pray for wisdom and understanding, may we grow in faith and virtue. We pray for all of our priests and religious, that they may be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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