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Put your trust in God to overcome fears — 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time homily — Father William Graney

Trappist Father Thomas Merton, one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century, is pictured in an undated photo. Father William Graney cites Father Merton in his homily about overcoming fear. (CNS photo/Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University)

By Father William Graney

From childhood, we have been dealing with fears. I for one can now laugh about a few of them.

Market researchers studied 3,000 persons, asking: “What are you most afraid of?” You can guess most of the responses: heights, financial insecurity, snakes, dying. The big surprise is that the No. 1 fear was speaking in front of a group. Today’s first and third readings deal with that fear of speaking before groups.

Father William Graney
Father William Graney

Jeremiah was a reluctant prophet who feared shame and death. Jeremiah tells us what his fear felt like: “terror from every side.” His faith in God pushed him through that fear. He “did the right thing”; he spoke out for God in spite of his fear.

In our Gospel, Jesus counsels his disciples as they set out on their missionary journey to speak to their fellow Jews. They are not to fear; they are to proclaim the good news — even from the housetops.

We can learn to face fears and work though them. Ultimately, we should learn to trust God and put difficulties into the power of God.

Let’s close by recalling the prayer of Thomas Merton, famous spiritual author.

“I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end…

I know that you will lead me by the right road,

though I may know nothing about it.

therefore I trust you always;

I will not fear for you are with me;

and you never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Who do we rely on? If we do not look at our weak selves, but toward our God we will have the courage to face our fears.

Father Graney is pastor of Resurrection Parish in Pike Creek.