Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Watching network news an observer is taken aback by the amount of fear-mongering. Not long ago photos of aviation disasters that occurred months ago were dredged up as if they happen all the time. Reports of tornados in other parts of the country were made ominously as if they were about to touch down next door. Prudential security for the Fourth of July was chronicled like preparation for an imminent invasion. God’s words to Jacob in the first reading need re-echoing: “Do not be afraid…”
Jacob is secure in what has become his homeland. Why should he move his clan to Egypt where they will be strangers amidst a mighty power? The reason is obvious. There is a terrible draught with no relief in sight. Equally significant, in Egypt his son Joseph will provide for the family and look after its security. God confirms this option telling Jacob that eventually his bones will be interred in the “Promised Land.” Now Jacob must trust the Lord and proceed with courage.
Of course, trusting in God and proceeding with courage sums up the way we should live as well. We might add prudence to courage, but in any case we are not to fear. Fear provokes isolation and hostility. It short-circuits friendliness and love. Rather than being fearful and becoming cynical, we should try to engage others in dialogue with the hope of finding common ground for mutual respect.