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Be Not Afraid

January 15, 2021 Featured Today No Comments

By FR. MICHAEL P. ORSI

(Editor’s Note: A priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J., Fr. Michael P. Orsi currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Fla. He is host of Action for Life TV, a weekly cable television series devoted to pro-life issues, and his writings appear in numerous publications and online journals. His TV show episodes can be viewed online at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyFbaLqUwPi08aHtlIR9R0g.)

  • + + The Gospel reading for the last Sunday of Advent was an account of the Annunciation in the Book of Luke (1:26-38). This is the moment when the angel, Gabriel, announces to Mary, the young virgin girl, that she will bear the Son of God, and assures her that she need not be afraid.
    It’s a pivotal moment in the Christian story, the point when the world and human history are changed forever.
    Reading this passage at the close of a turbulent year, after a much-contested election, offers a particular blessing. Advice about letting go of fear is timely and pertinent just now.
    We’ve been hearing a lot about the so-called “New World Order” being pursued by various movements, factions, and global powers, as well as a “Great Reset” of the international economic system which appears to be underway. We’re told that our style of life is going to change, our position in the world much reduced.
    And that’s certainly enough to stir our anxieties.
    But it’s important to remember that these “orders” and “resets” are worldly concepts. They reflect utopian visions imagined according to the lights of man. Any sense of a spiritual influence over human affairs is ignored.
    In the long run, such grand efforts are pretty much destined to fail. Because God and faith — key components in human behavior (whether or not we recognize them as such) — are left out.
    Luke is often referred to as “The Historian of the Church.” In his account of Jesus’ conception, he describes the Holy Spirit as “hovering” over Mary. This invites a comparison with how the Holy Spirit “hovered” over the waters in the Genesis account of creation.
    Through this imagery Luke suggests that something new and powerful has arrived. And he sets up a stark contrast between the powers of this world — at the time, those of Caesar and of Herod — with the power of God, which will be developed throughout the entire Gospel.
    The story assures us that God will prevail over these worldly kings, and that, of Jesus’ Kingdom, “there will be no end.”
    To put this in contemporary terms: The “New World Order” is already here; the “Great Reset” has already happened. They arrived with Christ.
    Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity. Salvation comes only from Him, not from worldly “orders” and “resets,” or from any of man’s endlessly convoluted and impossible schemes for human perfection.
    We stand on the brink of a new year and a new set of uncertainties. But, the Holy Spirit is still at work.
    As angel said to Mary: Be not afraid.
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