“So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31)
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we continue the missionary discourse in which we hear the oft repeated command to not be afraid.
Journeying through the Gospel passage, we see guidelines for proclaiming the Gospel to those around us without fear. First and foremost, it starts with a personal relationship with Christ. What Jesus tells us in the darkness or whispers to us, we are to shed light on and proclaim boldly. Whatever is private must become public.
Later, Jesus tells us that God is personal and ever caring by analogizing us with sparrows. Sparrows are birds which are sold for a small coin, essentially inconsequential and cheap, yet God notices when they fall to the ground. Likewise, God is aware of all the hairs on our head. Nothing about us, however minute it may seem even to us, escapes God’s notice.
We human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and we are worth so much more than many, many sparrows. It is because God knows us so much better than we know ourselves that we are not to be afraid. We are not to be afraid of others who may criticize us or wish to kill us as Jesus says, but rather we are to be afraid for our souls which can endure eternal pain.
What is it that we get by having courage? By telling our witness, Jesus will acknowledge us before God. Our reward is priceless. Yet should we continually choose to keep hidden and secret what should be proclaimed, Jesus will deny us before God. We are held accountable for how we live.
For whatever reason, many of us hesitate to share aspects of our faith with strangers. Just a few days ago, I was asked what I had been doing the past few evenings. After saying one thing, I then hesitated before also saying that I went to Bible Study. The person shrugged and then continued with the conversation. Nothing bad happened and I had no reason to be afraid.
None of us should be afraid to evangelize. Let’s live in the light without fear, knowing that we are worth more than many sparrows and so come to share the reward of being acknowledged by Jesus before God in heaven.