Fear Factor

January 21, 2022 | Give Us This Day

It seems so straightforward: Jesus appoints his Apostles. There doesn’t seem to be much to delve into here. We know how this Gospel (Mark 3:13-19) turns out. But, if we are willing to go where our hearts are sometimes afraid to look, we cannot help but pause at the first line: “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.”

Do we imagine it was so cut and dried for the men who went up that mountain? They were fishermen; they were married; they were carrying out the jobs to which they thought they would dedicate their lives. But Jesus calls them to something more, something radical, and they go, without question. Or so it seems. What conversations did the Apostles have—with their families, with themselves? It couldn’t have been easy.

Our call is not nearly so difficult, although at times it can feel that way. Sometimes even the smallest stretch beyond our normal reach makes us anxious and afraid. But Jesus is not asking us to give up our jobs or our families (at least not in most cases); he’s simply asking us to give more, and therein lies the fear factor. We don’t have to give up everything we know. We “just” have to put down our internal baggage and pick up the yoke of Jesus. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but we know from the Twelve that it is the only way that will set us free.

Mary DeTurris Poust, “Fear Factor,” from the January 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2021). Used with permission.


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