Catholics at Mass

The tipping point between fear and faith

Today is the feast of the apostles Saint Philip and Saint James and the Gospel reading from John 14:6-14 features a discourse between Jesus and Philip:

Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

In his reply, Jesus sounds exasperated:

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

This discourse happened at the Last Supper, before the risen Jesus and before his ascension to heaven at Pentecost.  We know from scripture that the apostles doubted or questioned that Jesus was the son of God – famously illustrated by “doubting Thomas” and “denying Peter.”  So until the descent of the Holy Spirit, the apostles relied only on their physical perception of Jesus.  He was there, in front of them.  They could speak with him, eat with him, and witness his works of miracles.  The presence of Jesus provided safety.

And yet, all of this was not enough for Philip.  In this moment, he was afraid and so he questioned.

I am like Philip because despite the mountain of blessings God has given me, I remain susceptible to fear.

When I am afraid, I am more likely to lose faith.  It is in moments of fear that I question or I doubt.  It takes courage to look at my fear and examine it.  To hold it up to the light and see that I (usually) enhance it.  I give my fear extra strength when I feed into it.

There is for me a tipping point between fear and faith.  Without faith, I am unable to tip away from fear and yet I feel it takes courage to turn away from fear.  Fear can also be exciting and stimulates my senses.  The chemical release used to entice me.

Paradoxically, when I have faith, I lose my fear.  It vanishes from me.

Here’s the good news for today:  I do not have to rely on my own courage to overcome fear.  I can rely on the Holy Spirit to give to me the same courage given to the Apostles.  I can ask God for help.  I can ask my fellow Christians to pray for me.  I do not have to face my fears alone.  Thanks be to God!

Enjoy these related posts from cinhosa:

Why Christians risk death
He is sitting right here
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