12th. Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A). June 25, 2023. Jer. 20:10-13; Rom.5:12-1; Matt.10:26-33. Fear Not - You Are of More Value Than Many Sparrows.
Fear and being afraid are featured prominently in today’s Scripture readings. God and Jesus are well acquainted with the human capacity for fear because they understand how humans can sometimes get so overwhelmed by fear that we can become paralyzed or silenced or willing to go along with something we know is so very wrong. Perhaps that is what is behind Jesus’ question: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs on your head are counted. So do not be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.” Fear is a powerful force. Yet, Jesus and God do not want us to live our lives in fear.
Life Message: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from the end of Jesus’ instruction to his disciples as he sends them forth to carry on his mission of preaching and healing. He asks them to live simple lives and to expect opposition, rejection, and persecution. Despite all this, Jesus encourages his disciples to stand firm. Three times they are urged, "Do not fear!" "Do not be afraid!" In other words, instead of shrinking from their task, they are to proclaim the Gospel boldly and not fear their persecutors, because they will be protected, just as Jeremiah was assured of God's protection. Jesus then presents before them the image of the sparrow to reinforce the disciples’ trust and hope in God. Hence, the readings hint at the opposition we future Christians will encounter as we carry on the work of Jesus in the world, and they encourage us to persevere in doing the work of Jesus. They assure us that we will be successful, despite the opposition we encounter.
Conclusion: Therefore, we need not be afraid because our life is in the hands of a loving God. Sometimes we are afraid that we will make a wrong decision. At other times, we are afraid of what others will think when we speak up for Jesus. We are afraid of what the future will bring to our children. We are also afraid of growing old. Sometimes we are afraid of what declining health will bring us. At the root of these fears, is the fear of loss!
Every fear we have is grounded in the knowledge that we have something or someone to lose. I can lose my job, family, house, money, reputation, health, and even life itself. But we forget one thing: whatever trouble or crisis affects us, we know that God understands it better than we ourselves do. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what is happening, that our life is in the hands of a loving God! The next time fear grips us we need to remember that being faithful to Christ wherever we meet him in this life is much more important than our fear of loss or rejection by others. Also, let us take a moment to recall some of the great promises of God, that we are each a dear child of His, and He cares for each of us. Therefore, "Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." The last verse of Psalm 27 sums it up nicely: "Trust in the Lord. Have Faith; do not despair. Trust in the Lord."