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God knows how to speak in our fears, too


Fra Bartolomeo | Public Domain

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 12/30/22

Fear conditioned St. Joseph, as our fears oftentimes condition us too. But God is far from being scandalized by this.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

“When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’” A heavenly inspiration tells Joseph, yet again, what to do. The Lord always inspires us to do the right thing. Discerning His voice from the many other voices that live within us is what matters. 

However, the most striking thing about this passage is Joseph’s fear: “But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.” It is reassuring to know that a man like Joseph, a true man of faith, can feel fear –pretty much like we do. 

His fear conditions him, as our fears oftentimes condition us too. But God is far from being scandalized by this. Instead, He helps him discern, while still in fear, what he can do – and, by so doing, he fulfills what had been said by the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

It is good to know that even our fears can contribute to the fulfillment of our own history of salvation.

Some fears we can shake off by coming to our senses and putting up a little courage. Others, on the other hand, will keep us company for the rest of our lives. And still, these structural fears shouldn’t worry us: God knows how to speak to and from our fears too, to show us the way. 


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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