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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Do not be afraid!

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Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

The liturgy of the Word of this Sunday opens, putting before us some situations of anguish and terror.

The first is that of the prophet Jeremiah. He is forced to announce violence and oppression; His enemies accuse him of spreading " Terror on every side", and they threaten to denounce him. Thus, the prophet experiences a state of fear.

The second situation of anguish is what we heard in the responsorial psalm: " For your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers... the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. "

Here, in the face of these situations of anguish that we feel so close to our experience, today's Gospel presents the Word of Jesus who says, " Fear no one ", do not be afraid! It is a kind of refrain that resounds in the words of Jesus. Before any reflection, today we should carry these words within us: "Do not be afraid," we should appropriate them. We are full of fear: fear is our condition.

The child is afraid of dark, of those who cry; He is afraid of monsters that adults upset in his mind to keep him good.

The teenager is afraid of himself, of life, of the other sex: unconscious fears but tormenting; Fears called shyness, inferiority complexes, aggression.

And we adults? Are we, at least, without fear?

On the contrary, we are full of fear, the worst form of fear: the anguish. We live trembling: it is fear of the future, of death, or even for tomorrow.

In our current, sophisticated and complicated world, man experiences a form of anxiety that is even more radical: that of existence itself. Sometimes, this world appears to him as a hostile and threatening reality, capable of crushing him with its cataclysms, or even with its own progress; other times the world is seen as a powerful machine that escapes the driver's hand and overwhelms him.

It’s  the consequence of human sin and wickedness that covers man and gives him a hostile aspect.

It is the sin of which Saint Paul speaks in the second reading. Since the fall of Adam, it has become more and more like an avalanche, determining our situation in the world.  The earth no longer smiles, but responds with thorns and sorrow to man's questions.

It is the situation of the creature that with her sin continues to chase her own will and not the will of God.

In a passage of January 28, 1926 Jesus said to Luisa that before Adam withdrew from the Divine Will, Adam was His son; he contained the Divine Will as center of his life and of all his acts, therefore he possessed a strength, a dominion, an attractiveness which was all divine. His breath, his heartbeat, his acts, gave of divine; all of his being gave off a celestial fragrance, which drew God toward him. So, the Most Holy Trinity felt wounded from all sides by this son; if he breathed, if he spoke, if he did even the most innocent, indifferent and natural things, those were wounds of love. And God amusing Himself with him, filled him more and more with His goods, because everything he did came from one single point, which was the Divine Will.

After sin, Adam descended from the state of son and reduced himself to the state of servant; and as soon as he broke up with the Supreme Will, the divine strength, the dominion, the attractiveness, the celestial fragrance, went out of him. Therefore, his acts, his being, no longer gave of divine, but were filled with a human sensation, which, making him lose attractiveness, caused that God no longer felt wounded, but rather, God kept His distance – he from God, and God from him.

The acts of the creature without the fullness of the Divine Will are like those foods without condiments and without substance, which, instead of being enjoyed, disgust the human palate; and so do they disgust the divine palate. They are like those unripe fruits, which contain neither sweetness nor taste; they are like those flowers without fragrance; they are like those vases, which are full, yes, but of old, fragile and ragged things. All this can serve a strict necessity of man, and maybe a shadow, a shade of the glory of God, but not the happiness and the complete well-being of the creature, and the fullness of the glory of God.

The mere smell of its condiment whets one’s appetite and the eagerness to eat it. In the same way, before sinning, Adam flavored all of his acts with the substance of the Divine Will, and therefore he whetted the appetite of God’s love to take all his acts as the most enjoyable food for Him; and He in return, gave him His delicious food – the Divine Will. But after sin, poor one, he lost the direct way of communication with his Creator; pure love was no longer reigning in him; love was divided by apprehension, by fear, and since he no longer contained the absolute dominion of the Supreme Will, his acts of before, done after sin, no longer had the same value.

But in spite of this, the Divine Will did not leave man completely. Unable to still be his source of life and the foundation that would sustain him, because he himself had withdrawn from It, It offered Itself as medicine so that he might not perish completely. So, the Divine Will is medicine, is sanity, is preservation, is food, is life, is fullness of the highest sanctity. In whatever way the creature wants It, so does It offer Itself. If she wants It as medicine, It offers Itself in order to take away from her the fever of passions, the weaknesses of impatience, the vertigo of pride, the sickliness of attachments; and so with all the rest of evils. If she wants It as sanity, It offers Itself to preserve her healthy, to free her from any spiritual illness.

If she wants It as food, It gives Itself as food to make her strengths develop and grow more in sanctity. If she wants It as life and as fullness of sanctity then the Divine Will makes feast, because It sees man returning into the womb of his origin, from which he came; and It offers Itself to give him the likeness of his Creator, the only purpose of his creation. The Divine Will never leaves man; if It left him, he would resolve into nothing. And if man does not give himself to letting the Divine Will make him a saint, the Divine Will uses the ways to at least save him.

In front of this experience of fear that has its roots in sin, the announcement of Jesus is revealed in the Gospel of this Sunday: "Do not be afraid!" All Sacred Scripture is full of it.

God says to Abraham, “do not be afraid” when He calls him out of his land to an unknown country. He tells the prophets: do not be afraid, I am with you. To the Virgin Mary: Do not be afraid; you have found favor with God. To the Apostles, when He sends them into the world, He says: before rulers and authorities, do not worry. To all His disciples: Do not fear, little flock.

In today's Gospel Jesus offers to us the reasons; It offers us, that is, the true remedy for our fears. He says:  do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. He seems to say to us:  "What will He do for you who are His children?" Every fear is reduced when Jesus shows us how human life can not be struck and destroyed forever, because there is God who takes care of it and protect it for eternity. So here is the first great reason of  Jesus' invitation not to be afraid: our final victory that no one can take away from us.

But Jesus in the Gospel has revealed to us, through an expression, an even stronger reason to overcome our fears: " Be not afraid, take heart! I have overcome the world”. Jesus has already overcome the world and it’s in this victory that the hope of our final victory is based. The bad root of every human fear has a precise name: death, the fruit of sin. Jesus has overcome it, taking away sin, all the sin of the world. He overcame the death by experiencing it on His own.  Jesus’s  death and resurrection are the deposit of our victory; They are the source of our hope and courage.

don Marco
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