My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
You don’t need to go on the ghost train to face scary and frightening situations. People are frightened because of the Ebola virus, terrorism, cancer, stroke, natural disasters, economic turmoil, ageing, children going wild etc. and ultimately death. As if it were not enough we hear today in the Responsorial Psalm between readings: “O blessed are those who fear the Lord.” To go even further let’s recall what was recorded in the Book of Deuteronomy: “What does the Lord your God require of you? To fear the Lord your God.” The fear here has nothing to do with God frightening us like those animations you can see while on the ghost train do. The fear of God here can be compared to having in your hands the most beautiful and fragile, piece of art, something you admire, and something that mesmerizes you with its beauty. You are so glad to have it in your hands but at the same time you fear that you can drop it and break it. Let’s now apply it to God. You fear God when God is so beautiful, fascinating, important, and crucial to you that you want to have a relationship with him. You want to believe in God, and because of your faith you also realize that you can break that relationship very easy because of your unfaithfulness and your sins. This beautiful God is in heaven but what is beautiful of him even more is that he comes to us, that we can walk our life with him. That’s why the Book of Deuteronomy says: “What does the Lord your God require of you? To fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep his commandments.” In the Book of Proverbs we also read: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” It is the knowledge of what really matters in life: HAVING FAITH IN JESUS.
After Jesus’ death and Resurrection St John the Beloved Apostle of the Lord, the one who knew the heart of Jesus so well wanted the first Christians to get the fear of the Lord right, and to put deep in their hearts and minds that the fear of the Lord is all about admiration, love, fascination, commitment, attachment to the Lord, not being frighten of the Lord, he wrote to say that what we understand by fear cannot be applied to God: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears in not perfected in love.” Human fear focuses me on myself while fear of God focuses me on the Almighty.
The man from today’s Gospel who buried the talent feared his master because he was scared of punishment. That fear paralyzed him from engaging himself in multiplying of what he was given. That human fear he had stopped him from doing the will of the master. He wasn’t captivated by the beauty and kindness of the Lord who approached him with not only a gift but with trust he could multiply the gift.
To finish this homily I am not going to encourage you to go on the ghost train but to listen to the words taken from the Acts of the Apostles: “The disciples held steadfastly to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. And the fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the Apostles.”
As Christians, as Sons and Daughters of the Church we know who is waiting at the end of our life journey, we like that little boy say: “Our Lord said he would wait for us there.” That’s why we don’t need to fear things around us. That’s why we share our reason to be uplifted with those who are downhearted because of the situation and events around them.