At the beginning of Lent I spent quite some time considering what ‘love’ really meant in my life. One of the first things I discovered in reading about it was that the opposite of love is not hatred, it is fear. That thought stayed with me right through Lent. And now, this Sunday, it comes to fruition in the extract we hear proclaimed from St Luke’s Gospel: “Peace be with you”, Jesus says.
But peace is not something that we can just turn on and off. When we are disturbed and fearful we need to try to figure out what it is in ourselves that has made us fearful. Jesus goes on to question us in the Gospel: “Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts arising in your hearts?” It is a very good, and tough, question.
Sometimes our fear lies in history and our own history is sometimes buried deep down. It can be a frightening thing to bring it to the surface and face it. Other times it can be very near the surface and can show itself in our shirt temperedness or lack of patience with ourselves and others. This is because fear is something that gnaws away at us and the only thing that heals it is light. By that I mean bringing things into the light as opposed to leaving them covered up in the darkness. That’s why I said it can be a tough question.
The image of light is a very common one in the Easter readings and prayers of the liturgy. We have the Easter candle and it is the time of year that the hours of daylight draw out, spring is in the air with colour as well as light. It could be that with the help of nature that we might step outside into the light and breathe in deeply, allowing God to bring the Spring of Easter into our lives. You see, there is nothing to be afraid of if we are honest with God, He knows it all already, but perhaps it helps to tell Him in our own words, to write our own story in His sacred heart.