Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:26-3326 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 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. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
When Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God he met opposition and hostility. He tells his disciples that they must expect the same treatment if they are to live and to proclaim the reign of God. There is both a warning and a privilege in his statement. Just as Jesus had to carry his cross, so the disciples must carry their cross and not try to evade it. To suffer for the faith is to share in the work of Christ. As one hymn states: Lift high the Cross of Christ! Tread where his feet have trod. The Holy Spirit gives us power and grace to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Do you trust in Godís grace to carry your cross for Jesus' sake?"Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to your disciple. Give me strength and courage to bear any hardship and suffering which may come my way in your service. May I witness to others the joy of the Gospel."
Psalm 69:7-10, 13, 16-17, 32-34
7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame
has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brethren, an alien to my motherís sons.
9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your mercy answer me. With your faithful help
16 Answer me, O LORD, for your merciful love is good; according to your abundant compassion, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress, make haste to answer me.
32 Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves therein.
A Daily Quote for the early church fathers: Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows, by John Chrysostom, 344-407 A.D.
"What do you see in creation of less value than a tiny sparrow?
But even the sparrow will not fall without God's knowledge. Jesus
does not mean that the sparrow falls by Godís direct will because
it is unworthy but that nothing that occurs is hidden from God. If
then God is not ignorant of anything that happens in creation, and
if God loves us more truly than the best human father, and if God
loves us so as to have numbered our very hairs, then we need not
be afraid. Jesus said this not to indicate that God literally has
a number placed on the very hairs of our head but rather to show
that God has perfect knowledge of everything about us and
providentially cares for everything about us. Therefore, if God
both knows all things that happen to us and is able to save us and
willing to do so, then whatever we may be suffering, we need not
think that God has forsaken us in our suffering. For it is not
God's will to keep us wholly separated from that which elicits
dread but rather to persuade us not to make an idol out of
whatever we dread. It is this, more than anything else, that
constitutes deliverance from dread. 'Therefore, donít be afraid.
You are of more value than many sparrows.' Donít you see that God
views your fear with more concern than the lives of many sparrows?
He already knows the secrets of your heart. Hence Jesus adds, 'Do
not fear.' For even if that which you dread prevails, it prevails
only over your body; this is the limited part of yourself, which
nature will surely take in due time and bring to an end." (excerpt from The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 34,
from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of
Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches
of Christ in the United States of America. Used by
permission. All rights reserved. Citation references
for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can
be found here.
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