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Audio Available!
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Saturday, March 12, 2016

THE ONE TRUE PHOBIA WE ALL HAVE - 5th Sunday RCIA (Cycle A readings)

Audio from Saturday Mass: Click here
Phobias.  There are so many different things that we can be afraid of in life, and psychology has outlined them quite well in the past decades.  Besides agoraphobia (fear of wide-open spaces) and social phobias (fear of difficult escape from social encounters), The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders (DSM V) has four main types of phobias: animal; nature; situational; and blood-injection-illness (B-I-I).  People are afraid of hundreds of things.  And it's not always fear for ourself, or so it would seem: I'm always afraid of hurting someone else.  But maybe that's more because of the akward situation it would put me in to know that I, a priest, hit someone with my car or ran into this or that on my bike or whatever else.  Our lives are lives of fear, but the fear ultimately boils down to one thing: we are afraid of dying.  We are afraid of losing something because that something is a part of a death.  I am really not happy about the fact that I pulled some weird muscle in my stomach and can't go out and run in this great weather.  It's a little death and it stinks.  But ultimately, it is death itself that we fear.  Let's face it: a great deal of the American lifestyle is all about ignoring death.

Christianity, on the contrary, looks right at death.  It looks at death and laughs at it.  The martyrs of the church, thousands of them over the centuries, have lived the words of Sacred Scripture: "Where O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

The fear of death is exactly what Jesus' entire mission on earth was addressing.  Death, since it is the result of sin, is why Jesus came. We began Lent with a showdown with the Devil, and now the tide is building once again.  Soon he will unleash all the evil that has been growing quietly in the hearts of men.  His pride ends up being his downfall in the cross.  Jesus conquers death by death itself.

Paul makes it clear for us today that for the Christian, life & death go hand-in-hand. We have the courage of the martyrs because we have already died in a certain way in baptism.  And here is how they go together: If we want to live in God, then we die to the world. 

LOTR Frodo's choice for a death mission. Sam is like Thomas "let's go to die with him". Love drives out fear. 

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