The kids at Holy Cross let me bring out my Daniel Tiger doll every so often. And we all learn from the very young tiger who is learning things often for the very first time.
The adults at Holy Cross let me sometimes enter into discussions about the life of faith through the eyes of a very young tiger. Because I think we are all dealing with fear today. We cover it up – some of us ‘eat our fears and anxieties’ – mine are most appreciated when they are chocolate dipped. Some of us become angry people – shaking our fists in rage at the ‘fools’ who run things, or the ‘idiots’ who want change to come. Some of us, driven by fear, disappear into ecstasy – (yeah, this is hard to explain) – religious ecstasy is ancient, but modern ecstasy finds worship, prayer and the like to be a vehicle to back out of the conflict we see around us.
But we are transfigured. On the mountaintop in Matthew, Jesus tells the terrified disciples, ‘Get up. Do not be afraid.’ He’s been showing them in his ministry, by healing, and casting out demons, and feeding the people all along. His power is shown to them in a fearful display on Transfiguration, as Elijah and Moses join him in glorious light! But this power display is not to frighten, but to inspire. This life they are called to join is glorious – don’t minimize that – don’t let the fear take hold.
So, when we all get frightened, like Daniel Tiger does, we could learn from Daniels’ mother who tells him to think of something happy. And then what? move forward, step by step, do not be afraid. What might we accomplish if we could move beyond fear to action in the name of the King?
My friends, take a breath, go to that place inside yourselves where we worship our Lord – and change the world.