Reflecting on Fear

I’m working on my next book, a set of reflections on Scripture verses. Who knows when it will be finished. I keep getting sidetracked by other projects. Today I offer you a pre-publication view of one of its pages. And I ask your prayers for the perseverance and inspiration to see the book to its conclusion . . . and, of course, to find a good publisher!

The reflection here is based on words that Jesus said to the synogogue leader Jairus. The two of them were on the way to Jairus’s home where his daughter was very ill. Jairus had just received the message that the girl had died. Jesus said,

Listen: “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” Luke 8:50

Someone counted how many times “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible: 365 times, one for every day of the year. Jesus said these comforting words to Jairus, whose little girl had died. Then Jesus proved that Jairus’s fear was unfounded. He proceeded to call the child back to life. She awoke still in this world. Jairus needn’t have feared with Jesus at his side.

            Fear is one of your strongest and most unpleasant emotions. What do you fear? A severe thunderstorm? Your marriage breaking up? Being humiliated? Another pandemic? Most people fear death, the death of a loved one or one’s own death.

            Jesus calmed Jairus, implying that all would be well although the dire situation required a miracle. Likewise, Jesus encourages you to believe that things will work out for the good. You can trust him even when a good outcome seems impossible. Follow St. Padre Pio’s advice: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

            As for death, because of Jesus’s saving acts, everyone will rise again. You can look forward to waking up in the next world. Jesus promised. Believe that his words will come true. In the end it will be as John Donne’s sonnet “Death Be Not Proud” predicts—“Death, thou shalt die.”

Respond: Jesus, keep me mindful that you walk with me and are always ready to help me.


Here is one distracting project that I enjoyed working on. Decades ago my friend Fran Jacobs created a set of cards with the letters of the alphabet and the first ten numbers. She envisioned that grandparents would mail these to their grandchildren a section at a time. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to find a company to produce the cards. To make her ideas available to all, I transformed the cards into a book and surprised her.

The book on Amazon sells for $10.00. Here is a sample page that says “Z is for zipper.”

Here is a favorite Catholic hymn for your reflection:

• When has God come to your rescue? What Scripture verses comfort you?

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