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  • Writer's pictureCatholic Ministries Appeal

Do Not Be Afraid!

Imagine, in your mind’s eye, a little boy about 10 years old. He loves playing near the water so much that he begins to carve a little sailboat out of wood. He spends lots of time after school whittling away and after a number of days, he adds the finishing touches…beautiful paint with a couple of stripes, a sail and his initials on the bottom.

Well, that boy loved his little boat and now spent his afternoons watching it sail along the little shoreline near his house. One day, a swift current and a strong wind took his little boat further and further out on the water until it was out of sight. As you might imagine that little boy was heartbroken. His beautiful creation was gone. All of his hard work had come to naught.

As the days and weeks passed, that little boy soon had other things to occupy his attention until one day, he accompanied his father on a trip into town to run an errand. As the boy and his dad walked down the familiar street, the boy stopped in front of a craft store. A little boat in the window caught his attention. He pestered his dad-“Dad, Dad, can we go in and look at that boat?”

Both father and son entered the store, and the clerk handed the boy the boat in the window. As the boy examined the boat, he noticed its fine craftsmanship. Could it be the boat he had carved? The boy turned the boat over and saw his initials on the bottom. Sure enough, it was his boat. The boy asked his dad if they could buy it and the dad was happy to do that for his son.

As the father and son walked out of the store, the boy could be seen cradling that boat in his arms and saying softly to himself, “you’re my boat…you’re twice my boat –firstly, you’re my boat because I MADE you and secondly, you’re my boat because I BOUGHT you!”

Isn’t it the same with God? We belong to Him twice. Firstly, because He MADE us by causing us to come into being through our parents and secondly, He BOUGHT us by dying on the cross. He paid for us with His blood while we were still sinners and gave us access to salvation!

One of St. John Paul II’s most used phrases was, “Do not be afraid.”

John Paul II reflected on that phrase in the book Crossing the Threshold of Hope and explained that it was the Holy Spirit who inspired him to say those words.

“When, on October 22, 1978, I said the words “Be not afraid!” in St. Peter’s Square, I could not fully know how far they would take me and the entire Church. Their meaning came more from the Holy Spirit, the Consoler promised by the Lord Jesus to His disciples, than from the man who spoke them.”

He then continues the reflection and explains why he would often return to the phrase during his many years as pope.

“The exhortation ‘Be not afraid!’ should be interpreted as having a very broad meaning. In a certain sense it was an exhortation addressed to all people, an exhortation to conquer fear in the present world situation… Why should we have no fear? Because man has been redeemed by God. When pronouncing these words in St. Peter’s Square, I already knew that my first encyclical and my entire papacy would be tied to the truth of the Redemption. In the Redemption we find the most profound basis for the words ‘Be not afraid!’: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’ (cf. Jn 3:16).”

As Catholics, we need not be afraid of any storm that may confront us, for we have our hope in Jesus Christ, who came to save the world from darkness.

God is love and His death on the cross assures us that we no longer have fear of the “present world situation,” even if it grows darker.

We belong to God “twice” --- He made us and He bought us by shedding His blood on the cross; so what do we have to be afraid of?

Happy Easter!

Stephen Scarallo

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