The Valley Catholic June 20, 2017 - Page 13 | June 20, 2017 By Father Brendan McGuire Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose, and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at Fear Factor: Christian Edition Recently I watched an old episode of the television show “Fear Factor: Couples Edi- tion.” The show is about people dared into doing all sorts of weird things. Sometimes they walk about the outside ledge of the top story of a skyscraper, or they pick flags up from a rotating device, 100 feet above water, or they do something under water, or eat strange things. Why push oneself to the limits? Money! A chance at $50,000. One has to ask; “how do they think of such things to do?” As part of the interview process for the show, they declare their fears and these fears are then confirmed by their close friends. So, the strange and bizarre stunts are supplied by the imagination of the participants themselves. In today’s gospel Jesus tells us not to be afraid of anyone or anything. In one sense, he is calling us to play, in real life, “Fear Factor: Christian Edition.” But what is our incentive? Why would be go to so much trouble during life? Sometimes, we think the incentive is eternal life or salvation but that is already promised us in baptism. Christ came to save everyone and we only need to accept that offer. Instead, our incentive is not only eternal life and the promise of eternal bliss but living the fullness of that reality here and now. Our incentive is to be able to live life to the fullest right now. We have the incentive and now we need to face our fears. Like the participants on “Fear Factor” we who want to play the “Christian Edition” need to sit down and list our fears with complete honesty. If we are truthful with ourselves then we will acknowledge that we all have some fears that disable us from being more fully alive. God is calling us to break through our fears into freedom. Some of us are deadly afraid of conflict and avoid any and all confrontation even when things are dysfunctional. We ignore the desperate need to face certain abuses in our household or office place to avoid confrontation. And in so doing we enable the dysfunction continue. God is calling us, instead, to break through that darkness into his wonderful light. Some of us are deadly afraid of intimacy and avoid any new friends for fear of being hurt. We take no risks and therefore have no new friends or opportunities for growth or new life. God is calling us, instead, to proclaim from the housetops our new life and invite others to that path of Christ. God is calling all of us to new life in him. Today may we take seriously this “Fear Factor: Christian Edition” and be honest enough with ourselves to list our fears. Then to allow God’s grace to shine through the darkness of our fears and pass through our fears into freedom. Our incentive is to live life fully here and now. This week may we be free from fear and free to live. SPIRITUALITY Sunday Homilies Stand Up, Let Go, and Be Free For Christ Psychologists tell us there are three different types of personal relationships. There are healthy relationships, dependent, dysfunctional relationships and mutually dependent dysfunctional relationships. These relationships can be best illustrated through a simple demonstration. Imagine yourself standing facing another person with both hands up and your palms facing the other person. Imagine that you relate through your hands. If you touch your palms together then you are in relationship. When you are standing upright then you can easily engage and disengage from the other person without much effort as you touch palms. If one of you decide to let go without informing the other no real damage is done, you just stop “relating” for that moment. These are called healthy relationships. Now imagine touching palms again but this time you lean on the other person and move your feet back away from them. You are leaning on other person completely and they can feel the pressure of your whole body through their hands. If either of you let go, you will fall and hurt yourself but the other person will remain standing unharmed. Only you can be hurt in this scenario. This is called dependent relationship and can often be dysfunctional in adults. One person is always under pressure and feels that strain. If we let go the other will be hurt immediately. Now imagine both people leaning on each other. In this scenario, they can reach an equilibrium point where both of them are leaning on each other and it feels quite comfortable. However, if either of them let go they will both fall and be harmed. This relationship can feel quite good at first but, after a while, they grow tired. This is called a mutually dependent relationship and is nearly always dysfunctional and detrimental for both people. When we are children our relationship with our parents is one of complete depen- dence. That is a natural stage we go through but it a passing phase which we outgrow. We soon learn to stand up and let go of our parents. Sometimes parents can become dependent on their children. When they grow up and let go, as often happens in their teenage years, the parents get hurt as they fall in response to new independence. Then there are other relationships in which we are as dependent as the other person. Sometimes marriages end up like this when each spouse has no other relationships except for the other. They have complete dependence on each other. It seems to be fine until one member has to let go and then everything comes crashing down.We are called to have healthy relationships, whether with our spouse, parents, children or friends. Relation- ships in which we are free to engage and disengage at will. It is within this context that Jesus’ comments in today’s gospel is best understood. Jesus calls us to be free from our parents, children or even friends, free to be in relationship with him. This week may we examine our relationships with our parents, children and friends and honestly determine if we are dependent on them or them dependent on us in some unhealthy manner. As adults, it is time to stand up, let go and be free for Christ. The cost of living keeps going up. The cost of your funeral doesn’t have to. Like many things, costs will continue to increase, so locking in now is a wise decision. Yes, perhaps it’s a long way away, but all the more reason to get your plan together now. Contact your local Dignity Memorial provider for the best prices. 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