Homily for the twelfth Sunday in the year

Year A  -  Mt. 10:26-33


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus said to his disciples : «So have no fear of men; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.

"«And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

"«So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven;  but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.»"



Homily:


"Jesus said to his disciples : «So have no fear of men; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.»"

Who is Jesus?  And who are we?  These are the two questions we must ask ourselves when we read the gospel for today's liturgy.  Who is Jesus?  He is the One who speaks to us!  "What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light."  Jesus is the Word of the Father, he whom the Father begets and conceives eternally in the Spirit of Love!  Jesus is this Man, who is also and firstly God, but who is our Mediator with the Father:  it is through Jesus and in Jesus that the Father makes us his adoptive sons, heirs with his only Son.

Who are we?  We are those who speak to the whole world the same Word that we have heard, in Jesus, from the Father!  ". . . utter in the light;  and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops."  Because if we are adoptive sons of the Father, and heirs with Christ, then we are also, in a certain way, mediators of the Fatherís Word, the Word that is none other than Jesus himself.  We are those through whom other men and women can also become adoptive sons of God in Jesus Christ!

"«And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;  rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.»"

Even if we do sometimes know what we are, it often happens nonetheless that we don't believe it very much, or at least, not enough.  Indeed, sometimes we are afraid, we fear "those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."  For there is sin: sometimes our personal sins, but always original sin, at least its consequences.  Even though we were baptized in Jesus Christ and, through this baptism, the original sin we had has been eliminated, it remains that this same original sin left some of its traces in us, which weaken us and which can lead us into the worst disorders.

Yes!  Ever since the original sin, man is afraid!  And what is most characteristic is that he even fears God!  Thus, right after having disobeyed God and eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree, the man, Adam, answered the Lord who questioned him, saying that he had been afraid of him:  "«Where are you?»  And he said, «I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.»  The Lord said,  «Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?»" (Gn. 3:9-11)

But Jesus, who came to earth to us bring eternal life by remedying the evils of original sin, truly wants to heal us of this unjustified fear concerning God, and he says to us:  "«Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.»" If Jesus is with us, he who is our mediator with the Father, then how can we fear, how can we not have confidence in God our Father who watches over us, going so far as to count each one of our hairs?

"«So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven;  but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.»"

When we acknowledge Jesus Christ before men, we act as mediators of the Word of God:  we serve as mediators between Christ and men so that the Word of God might be revealed to those who don't yet know it.  Therefore, we are not acting solely for our own salvation, but also and firstly for the salvation of others, those men and women to whom we are sent as Christians.  At that moment, it is the entire strength and power of the sacrament of confirmation which, if we have received it, allows us to testify to our adherence to Jesus Christ.

For the sacrament of confirmation is the fullness of the sacrament of baptism:  what baptism could only begin and not fully accomplish, for it is something which doesn't fall within its scope, confirmation brings to its completion.  So, if fear could not be eliminated from the soul by the sacrament of baptism, it begins to be definitively vanquished by the sacrament of confirmation:  he who would make a good and holy use of the sacrament of confirmation would first defeat fear, and he would then go, thanks to God, from victory to victory!  He who acknowledges Jesus Christ, having been confirmed on his forehead, can hope to belong to the crowd of people "who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." (Rev. 14:1)

May today's Eucharist nourish our faith in divine Providence, which, through Mary, watches over us, to the point of numbering each one of our hairs!