TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORN: A HOMILY ON MONDAY, 4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II
One thing which differentiates successful people and unsuccessful people is courage. Fear is the devil’s greatest tool against us. You can have a blessing set before you, but if you are in fear, you will not take it, and it will just pass by. Fear is the mother of all negative emotions, and it is difficult to achieve anything in life without courage. Also, the fear of death is the president general of all our other fears. All fears can be linked to the fear of death. For example, if you are afraid of making mistakes, you may not see the link between that and death, but if you know in your heart that nothing bad will happen to you if you make a mistake, then you will not be afraid of making mistakes.
Our first reading presents to us some great men of the Old Testament who are described as weak, but God gave them strength, to be brave in war. They were not afraid to die, because they believe in the resurrection. That was their hope. Those who lacked the virtue of hope returned back home out of fear. Those who remained went through a lot of torture and pain, and what kept them going is the hope that even if they die, they will rise to new life. These people believed in the resurrection at a time when Jesus had not yet come. Wow.
How about us? In the Gospel we see a man who tormented by an unclean spirit. He is said to have lived in the tombs. He fancied to live among dead people than to live among living people. Well, the idea is this: The fear of death is also the fear of life. Those who are afraid to die are also afraid to live. A practical example will help us here. If someone is afraid of flying in an airplane because they are afraid it might crash, such a person will never be able to travel overseas, except by other means of transportation which takes far longer. Because of that fear, he/she is missing out on the wonderful people and things in other countries. He/she is not living his/her full life. Therefore the fear of death is also the fear of life. This man chose to live among dead people, and that is exactly what fear does to us. Jesus on the other hand, was not afraid to order the evil spirit out of the man. The evil spirit was afraid of Jesus. We need courage and the authority of Christ to root out evil from our lives. Heaven is not for cowards. Jesus had to sacrifice 2000 pigs to save the life of this man and the people drove Him out of their town. But He was not afraid.
Sometimes we are too afraid of loosing that we become equally afraid of winning. Sometimes, we can become too interested in death than in life, in associating with dead people than with living people, and I mean that in a figurative sense. It is important to even know, that for the heroes of our faith, death for them is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life. Therefore, if the fear of death is conquered, all other fears should be conquered. With Jesus, we have the hope of a blessed resurrection. Therefore, anybody who has truly met Christ has nothing more to fear. Do not be afraid.