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I was on vacation in Maine, and I went to the other side of the lake to catch the evening hatch. The night was pitch-black. I had a flashlight, and I was using it to return to the camp. As I was walking along, I turned off the flashlight to see how far I would walk without the light. There were no street lights; clouds covered the moon. I could not see anything, but all I had to do was walk straight ahead. As I started to walk without the light, a thought came to mind. I could walk off the path into some tree branches. I didn’t want tree branches to cut up my face, so I held my hands in front of my face. Then I thought, “What if I walk off the road and fall into a ditch? I could break my leg. No one will find me and I will be left to die.” To avoid that from happening, I decreased my speed, shuffling my feet along, while my hands were still held out in front of my face. Then I heard a twig snap. “That has to be a bear. I bet that bear sees me and is charging toward me!” When I pictured the bear on its hind legs ready to pounce on me, I thought to myself, “That’s it! I am turning on the flashlight.” An amazing thing happened when I turned on the light. The bear that was in front of me disappeared, the ditch disappeared and there were no trees, only a field. When the light came on, all the fear went away because the fear was not real it was in my head.
The most fearsome task I ever had to do was my comprehensive exams. When I was accepted into the doctorate program, I had to stand before the dreaded requirement. This is what I thought, “I know how to make the fear go away.” I wrote down every possible question I could be asked about the New Testament. I read many books and typed down the answers. When the day finally came, I did not fear because I was basking in the light of knowledge. If you fear anything, turn on the light.
We have a daily Mass at 12:10 pm, Monday through Friday. We usually have twenty to thirty people. September 11, 2001, was on a Tuesday. At 12:10 pm we had 167 people. What happened? That was a dark day and people gathered to the light. When you turn on the light the fear goes away.
The greatest archaeological discovery, period, was the Dead Sea Scrolls because they give us information about the world Jesus lived in. This discovery was not made by a scholar or an archaeologist. Two boys were throwing rocks in a cave in the Judean desert and they heard something crash. They crawled inside the cave and found pottery jars with scrolls inside of them. They took the scrolls to an antique dealer to trade them in for some candy money. The two boys were not the first to find the scrolls. There were other caves. Others went into the caves, saw the pottery jars, dumped the scrolls out on the ground, and took the jars. That is like throwing away the winning megabucks ticket and keeping the empty envelope. It was the two kids that saw the treasure. Imagine all those years those scrolls sat there because no one except two boys could see that they were valuable. That is why the light came into the world, to take away the fear that paralyzes us and to so what is really important in our lives.Back to All Homilies