25TH NOVEMBER 2021
HOW TO OVERCOME THE FEAR OF WHEN?
The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading are words that are very scary. How do we deal with scary words? Before we think on how to deal with these scary words, let us have a look at them and see how they make us feel.
Jesus says that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies indicating that its desolation is near. He also says that people will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captives among all nations.
Jesus goes on to say that the sea will be roaring and the waves and men will be fainting with fear and that there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars.
How do you feel about these words of Jesus? Are you wondering when all these words will come into actualization? Do you feel worried or relaxed? Do you feel that these are words to be ignored? What have these words of Jesus triggered in you, is it fear or is it faith?
One thing that happens when we hear these words of Jesus is to fearfully take them as a prediction, eager to know when they will exactly be actualized yet Jesus has not given the date or time for their actualization.
We normally use the word ‘when’ especially in wanting surety about an issue that we do not know or about a matter that we are expecting. Focusing extensively on the word ‘when’ can make us have fear and be anxious.
To overcome this fear, we need to realize that Jesus has also said these important words: “Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near; but it is a section that has been overlooked because of the earlier scary words associated with wanting to know when. Instead of only concentrating on when, Jesus is also giving us the opportunity to ponder about this question: How shall we live in the meantime?
In the meantime, means that before the actualization, what will be our disposition, what will be our attitude? It means that what we do now matters a lot because it will help us be well prepared for the future. This in between time, though fraught with tension and fear and vagueness, is nevertheless also marked by hope and courage.
This moment of waiting is important in our faith because it makes us realize that we live in between God’s intervention in a world that has other interventions and though this intervention may not remove our liking for a perfect time and waiting it may affect its character. When Jesus tells us to raise up our heads, you will notice that when you read this Gospel passage further, he will encourage his disciples not to be occupied with too much feasting and drinking and with the worries of life. He tells the disciples to always pray.
What you do before an actual event and how you live before an actual event takes away the fear of when and the fear of vagueness. The life of faith is not just about when but it’s mostly about how you live before the actualization of the ‘when’. Life is not just about when you will do your exam, visit a place, vote, or say something, or engage in a religious event or do a wedding or start a project but it is also and mostly about what you do and how you live and prepare and how fully you are aware of what is needed from you and of you.