Gospel Reflections

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 10:26-33

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Nina Vandamme

Published: June 25, 2017


The first word that resounds in the Gospel: “Be not afraid.” Today there are so many things that sow unrest, knock us off balance, or raise questions regarding uncertainty about things that used to seem so self-evident. War, violence, abuse: these evoke resistance within us because who chooses to be confronted with this in their daily lives? Who asks for this? And yet, for a large number of people, this is reality. Do Jesus’ words not appear to be contrary and are they not at odds with the reality that these people experience? This pericope contains the phrase “Do not be afraid” three times. Why am I or do I become afraid? At times, everyday reality threatens my life, my way of life, and, as a result, I tense up. I roll myself up like a hedgehog, because I do not want to be touched, my spines are ready to defend me because I do not want my life to be determined by others.

“Do not be afraid,” Jesus says, for your life, for your body. That which is said in the dark will be told in the daylight. Therefore, take courage and … do not remain silent … proclaim what I say to you in private, in the dark; make it public, speak and pronounce it from the housetops! Do not forget that it is “My word that you must proclaim.”

Suddenly, Jesus says: “Fear Him rather ….” It is a command that he gives us. This is a different kind of fear – a fear that arises from the desire to serve Him in love, to not displease Him in any way. We are worth so much more to God than the two sparrows for a penny. The image of the hairs on our heads being counted reminds us of God’s concern for humankind, his precise and attentive care and love. This is the loving care that rouses a person to life; we are so dear to Him, we are everything to Him!

Why should I be afraid or what should I fear if God loves me so much?

God only asks that I confess Him, without shame or reluctance, simply, honestly and sincerely, that I “be who I am” in my relationship with Him and fellow humans.

The gift that we additionally and undeservedly receive is that Jesus will acknowledge us before the Father!

Food for thought:

- What causes unrest within me? What disturbs my peace? What causes me to retreat within myself? Does fear play a role in my life? Am I frightened of the other or of the Other? - Am I afraid I will have to completely alter my way of life? - Can I turn my face to Him in peace and tranquility, look upon Him and experience how He becomes love within me and gives me strength to alter that which threatens me into new opportunities?

 

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