DAILY MASS, GOSPEL AND COMMENTARY: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body”
Gospel of the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 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 of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
26-27 Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those w
- Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid of calumny and detraction. A day will come when everyone will come to know the whole truth about everyone else, their real intentions, the true dispositions of their souls. In the meantime, those who belong to God may be misrepresented by those who resort to lies, out of malice or passion. These are the hidden things which will be made known.
- Christ also tells the Apostles to speak out clearly. Jesus’ divine teaching method led him to speak to the crowds in parables so that they came to discover his true personality by easy stages. After the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:8), the Apostles would have to preach from the rooftops about what Jesus had taught them.
- We too have to make Christ’s doctrine known in its entirety, without any ambiguity, without being influenced by false prudence or fear of the consequences.
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
- Using this and other Gospel texts (Mt 5:22, 29; 18:9; Mk 9:4 3, 45, 47; Lk 12:5), the Church teaches that hell exists; there those who die in mortal sin suffer eternal punishment (cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent I, 6, 3), in a manner not known to us in this life (cf. St Teresa of Avila, Life, chap. 32). See notes on Lk 16:19-31).
- Therefore, our Lord warns his disciples against false fear. We should not fear those who can only kill the body. Only God can cast body and soul into hell. Therefore God is the only one we should fear and respect; he is our Prince and Supreme Judge — not men. The martyrs have obeyed this precept of the Lord in the fullest way, well aware that eternal life is worth much more than earthly life.
29-31 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 of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows
- An “as” (translated here as “penny”) was a small coin of very little value. Christ uses it to illustrate how much God loves his creatures. As St Jerome says (Comm. in Matth., 10:29-31): “If little birds, which are so little value, still come under the providence and care of God, how is it that you, who given the nature of your soul are immortal, can fear that you are not looked after carefully by him whom you respect as your Father?” Jesus again teaches us about the fatherly providence of God, which he spoke about at length in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 6:19-34).
32-33 Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Here Jesus tells us that public confession of our faith in him — whatever the consequences — is an indispensable condition for eternal salvation. After the Judgment, Christ will welcome those who have given testimony of their faith and condemn those whom fear caused to be ashamed of him (cf. Mt 7:23; 25:41; Rev 2 1:8). The Church honours as “confessors” those saints who have not undergone physical martyrdom but whose lives bore witness to the Catholic faith. Although every Christian should be ready to die for his faith, most Christians are called to be confessors of the faith.
A GREAT VIDEO ON FATHER’S DAY
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. I am inspired to write this short poem about my father:
Fear vanishes, when my father takes my hand
Leading me in my skirmishes, with his magician’s wand
Teaching me honesty, integrity, hard work in his own brand
He is my superhero – I am, too – when beside him I stand
This is the feeling of Jeremiah in today’s reading, when he is attacked on all sides, even by his friends. But Jeremiah has confidence in his Father God, for he knows truth and justice will prevail as Hi father stands
For those of whose fathers have passed on, we can only have fond memories of how they tried their best to be the best fathers the way they know how. A FATHER is a bedrock of confidence and assurance for many of us that all will be well when difficulties seem to cripple us. He is our immovable force to protect us from all those who try to hurt us. Our fears vanish when he is with us.
An article I saw says this about fathers:
He is a mender of toys, a leader of boys.
He is a changer of fuses, a healer of bruises.
He’s a mover of couches, a healer of ouches.
He’s a hanger of screens, a counselor of teens.
He’s a pounder of nails, a teller of tales.
He’s a dryer of dishes, a fulfiller of wishes.
Bless Him, O Lord.
Some of us have regrets that we have not established closer ties with our fathers. Perhaps, it is a regret for rebelling when we were younger and not having heeded his constant and sometimes forceful advice which, most often, was right. Perhaps, it is a regret for not having had the chance to reconcile with him when he was still alive. Perhaps, when your father was still alive, you detested his meddling, he was a nuisance, he was of no use to the family. He may not have been the ideal father you see in others.
But now that he has passed on, perhaps, there is a light inside you that tries to seek a path towards your father. You are who you are today because he was a part of it. You have become a better person now in large part because of your father.
For those of us who still have our fathers with us, savor every moment you have with them. Pick their brains and ask them to tell you stories. Talk to them and ask for their advice and counsel. Never ignore them but spare time to be with them. Make up for lost time to be their friend.
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