Brett Fawcett

WORD MADE FLESH

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 6, 2015
Isaiah 35.4-7 | Psalm 146 | James 2.1-5 | Mark 7.31-37
August 30, 2015

C.S. Lewis was a great writer who wrote powerful defences of Christianity. Yet when his wife died, he struggled to continue writing positively about God.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear," said Lewis.

To turn his observation around: No one ever told me fear felt so much like grief.

In my experience, to be truly afraid - afraid for the future, afraid for a loved one, afraid of loving something or someone dear to you - is a lot like grief. You become numb to the world around you, and to the world within you.

The worst part about fear is that it easily leads to sins against charity. When you fear the worst, it means you think the worst of those around you and who have power over you.

You fear that your generous parent who does so much for you will turn around and use her influence over you to make you do what she wants. You fear your employer will fire you, despite your difficult situation. You fear your significant other won't be able to look past your flaws and will forsake you.

You can only see others' dark sides.

That comes out in the First Reading today, from Isaiah. The prophet is told: "Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!" Why?

GOD'S WORK

Because "then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared." To be afraid is to be deaf and blind, that is to say, insensitive to the work of God around you.

Sometimes, we fear because we need to fit in. At times, if a difficult situation arises, I almost will myself into stressing about it. I fear that if I'm not worried about it, I'm not taking it seriously.

This is the way the busy, important, adult world seems to work. We want to fit into that world, don't we? Unfortunately, this hurts our witness. If we trust in God, why are we so busy?

'Be strong. Do not fear! Here is your God.'

Isaiah 35.4

In today's Gospel, Jesus heals a man with a speech impediment, a man who has trouble communicating, just as our witness is often stammering and incoherent. Jesus does not heal the man's tongue; he heals his ears.

The man's problem is not that he is mute, but that he is deaf. Our problem is often, not that we cannot communicate the word of God, but that we're too busy letting ourselves worry to listen to it.

This means having the childlike maturity to say: No matter how big this problem may seem to everyone else - no matter how much I am supposed to stress about this - I will not let myself pretend it is bigger than God just so I can feel important.

May the Lord heal us all of the self-inflicted blindness of fear.