(Colin King delivered this homily for Mass May 26, 2017, at the friars’ Chapter.)
Fear is powerful.
Fear is so powerful that it can keep us locked in an upper room with a false sense of security.
Fear is so powerful that it can unintentionally keep us away from the Risen Christ.
Fear is so powerful that it can have going through the external motions of a friar life without allowing integration into the core of our being.
But of course we do not gather here in a spirit of fear, do we brothers? No, we gather here in that Living Hope that does not disappoint.
We gather here together as brothers and we, too, can hear the voice, see the vision of the Risen Christ telling us to be not afraid.
We gather here together as brothers and can have a vision of the Risen Lord telling Francis, a rich little Italian, to be not afraid to leave the city walls, go down the hill, and rebuild my church, which you see is in ruins.
We gather here together as brothers and can hear the voice of the Risen Lord telling friars from Tyrol to be not afraid to go to Cincinnati; the Risen Lord telling friars from Slovakia to go to Pittsburgh.
We can hear the Risen Lord telling friars to be not afraid and go to Peru and Bolivia.
We can hear the Risen Lord telling friars to be not afraid and go to Greenwood, Miss., during the Civil Rights movement.
We can hear the Risen Lord telling friars to be not afraid through the lips of Mother Drexel and go to the reservations in the Southwest and after a century of ministry, and then after decades of decline, to take a step in faith and create a new province.
We can hear the Risen Lord telling friars to be not afraid to move out of our comfort and convenience and take a flex mission and spend time in Alaska or Vietnam.
We can hear the Risen Lord telling friars to be not afraid to evangelize, always moving forward. Not as a rejection of our past, but always moving forward into the abundance that the Risen Lord has prepared for us. And as we do so we are able to still maintain the missions which date back to St. Junipero Serra.
ou see, we come together here as brothers, but we do not stay here. The Risen Lord is telling us to go out. Be not afraid to go out and read the signs of the times through the light of the Gospel.
The Risen Lord is telling us to be not afraid and to go out while being attentive to the needs of all that, sharing their grief and pain, their joy and hope, we may faithfully bring them the good news of salvation and go forward with them along the way of your Kingdom.
But we can go all through the world, until there is no East or West; no North or South. Be not afraid to go out, because our God is the King of all creation.
Who knows, maybe someday a friar from the restructured province will hear the voice of the Risen Lord saying Be Not Afraid and bring the Gospel to Mars. But no matter the miles we travel, even light years of travel, it will pale in comparison to our journey to the depths of our being.
That voice of the Risen Lord saying, Be not afraid to go to those places you would rather keep hidden. Be not afraid to go to those places you are ashamed of. Be not afraid to go to those places where you feel vulnerable and insecure. Be not afraid to go to those places where you have resentments towards your brothers. Be not afraid to go to those places where you feel inadequate in your ministry.
Because, my dear brothers, that voice of the Risen Lord who is telling us to be not afraid to go to these places on our inner journey, and when we finally go to those places we are scared of, we find that it is the same God who is waiting for us all along in those places of woundedness and vulnerability. It is our God who wants us at the deepest level.
This is why we come to this altar, and receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord. We receive this deep communion that continues to call us forward. Not so we stay here, but so that we go out into the world. We go back, not to our fiefdoms where we are an important person, but to continue to build the Kingdom of God. We go back, not to our personal ministry that we have built up around us but, we go back with God’s mission.
So we can go throughout the world and are able to say:
BE NOT AFRAID!
Read more about the friars' Chapter.