No Fear Just Faith
“… do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Jesus has just commissioned his apostles, giving them detailed instructions for their preaching. He has also given them some dire warnings about the persecutions they will face as they proclaim the kingdom. They are to be afraid only of the one “who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.”
Today’s Gospel also gives us some of Jesus’ words of encouragement to the small band of apostles. They are to speak in the light and proclaim from the housetops. They will need to recall the Father’s care for the sparrows, knowing that they are worth more than many sparrows. They are to believe firmly that, in losing their lives for Jesus’ sake, they will find them. People who assist them will receive their reward, even if they only give them a cup of cold water.
When I consider Jesus’ clear instructions, I wonder what a public relations person would think of it all. If I were in that group of disciples, would I have stayed the course with all those warnings and admonitions? Then Jesus’ words shine in the depths of my soul: “You are worth more than many sparrows.” I begin to see what an impression Jesus left in the hearts of his first followers. The love and loyalty he asked of them could never be compared to the fidelity and self-emptying love he had for each one of them.
Jesus had called these men, and they had left all to follow him. I think of the great magnetism Jesus must have radiated from his heart, so full of love for all people. The strength and loyalty of this love far outshone the difficulties Jesus predicted would come their way. They were going to spread the Good News about a Person. They would spread this message by the contagion of their enthusiasm and the zeal of their preaching. Their lives would never again be the same—nor would ours!
Jesus, your words were carved on the hearts of your disciples, and the message they spread has been stamped on my life, too. I ask for their same loyal love and steadfast courage as I go about the works of your kingdom in my own small corner of your world.
“For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:20).
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 250–252). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.