Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail….

Isaiah’s advice to King Ahaz as two armies surrounded and assailed Jerusalem might sound absurd but it’s precisely the right attitude a king, general or common soldier must take. Anyone driven by fear is liable to do something altogether wrong. Seasoned warriors manage their fear as they wait for the right moment to act.

Throughout my life I have watched anxiety grow in my own country, beginning with the Berlin Crisis in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, through the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in 2001 and the recent “ISIS-inspired” incidents of mass murder. When threats of nuclear annihilation seemed imminent I was told to hide under the desk. More recently, I am told to buy a gun, preferably this “Glock blah-blah-blah with extra ammunition I can sell you for a discount because you’re a buddy of mine.”

If there is money to be made off bomb shelters and assault rifles you can be sure the fear mongers will be there, ready to exploit the cowardly. As my preternaturally wise mother used to say, “There’s a fool born every minute, and someone there to take him.”

God says “Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail.”

What do the courageous do under these circumstances? We pray, we discuss our options, we pray again, we make our choices to wage peace.

We observe the fear many feel and we encourage them to think and act wisely. We warn them about hucksters. We laugh at funny jokes, we attend baptisms, weddings and funerals as if life is good, which it is.

At some point even a frightened mega-power like the United States can decide, “Okay, that’s enough.” During the early 1950’s millions of Americans were seized by the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Then they decided to stop being stupid. There’s nothing to be gained by it.

With God’s grace we’ll get over this, hopefully before November 8, 2016.


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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.