February 2011 Evangelization Exchange – Gutierrez

Facing Fear with the Lord

by Magdalena Gutierrez


GuttierezImagine Jesus in your living room, listening to the news with you and your family. What would he do? We know Jesus understood our fears and limitations, and he liked to lay bare the thoughts of those who followed him, as in the case of the woman caught in adultery or when the 5,000 had nothing to eat. Yet, if we think we already have the answers we can miss the opportunity of a new encounter with the Word among us.

A good idea is to present to the Lord in prayer our fears and our anger. He understands our limitations. On the Road to Emmaus our Lord met two fearful disciples abandoning the group in disappointment. He asks, then listens and explains the meaning of suffering as only a friend can do. In situations of loss or suffering, the worst we can do is to seek someone to blame. Listen to his words: “the Messiah had to suffer.” Accepting and surrendering to this reality opens the possibility of healing and learning. Denying or insisting on blaming others closes the door to growth and can engender hatred. Back to our living room, listening to the news in the company of Jesus, are we still blaming or are we moving into a more mature response?

A word of caution: when we act in his Name we can expect persecution even coming from within, from our own internal critical voice (“What are you doing? That’s weird!” “Am I supposed to become a doormat to be a Christian?”) It is important to remember that persecution is still a mark of the ministry of Jesus and his Church. So our goal is not to listen to the internal critic, but to the Lord with the help of the Holy Spirit. When was the last time we risked criticism for applying Christian principles to our life? Are we teaching others this aspect of following in the Lord’s footsteps or do we play it safe accommodating to the culture around us and choose to grieve the Holy Spirit out of habit? (See Ephesians 4)

We have Good News to share! As Catholics we accompany our words with loving actions that reflect the Father’s love. I have no data on the amount of time, talent and treasure we give to witness our faith among the poor and needy of the world. However much we have given, we need even more! Regardless of our personal call, whether we are an apostle, prophet, evangelist pastor or teacher, we seek to work together and understand our mission as a team. Back to our living room, listening to the news in the company of Jesus, can we see our part in the Church’s mission? Are we parenting our children to learn to hear God’s voice? Let each one in the house respond faithfully to the need of his neighbor with the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about the Good News to the poor, as Jesus has done for us.

As I am writing, the media is covering the shooting of U.S. senator Gabrielle Gifford, in Arizona. The suspect is thought to suffer from a severe mental illness “a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking”. The Archdiocese of Washington (Catholic Charities) has a center that provides help to adults trying to overcome a mental illness and become self sufficient while adopting a healthy life style. Please visit Anchor Metal Health web page for more information.