Franklin Roosevelt once said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” We can be afraid of all sorts of things: of the dark, of strangers, of taking a risk, of all sorts of danger. And to a certain extent, fear is good. It keeps us from putting ourselves in harm’s way. But sometimes fear can keep us from taking normal risks that help us to become what we were meant to be. Maybe it keeps us from trying out for a team or a play or starting an activity at school that would have helped us. And at its worse, maybe it keeps us from forming a relationship with Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us not to be afraid of the things of this world. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” He tells the people to get it right, to be afraid of the devil; the evil one who can keep us from God for all eternity. But he also gives us consolation: we should not be afraid because God knows us intimately; he even knows how many hairs we have on our heads! We are worth everything to our God who made us and wants us to be close to him.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch knew that, because he preached Christ and refused to worship pagan gods, that the Roman government was going to put him to death. He wrote to his parishioners and begged them not to try to pull strings to stop his death. He would rather die for Christ than live a lie. He ultimately was not afraid to die; he willingly gave up his life for Jesus, just like Jesus willingly gave up his life for all of us.
In these days before Halloween, there are all sorts of spooky things that try to scare us. But we should not ever be afraid because our God knows us and loves us and won’t let anyone take us away from Him, if we do our part and choose to love him every day.