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.” MT 10:24-33
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
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.” MT 10:24-33
I don’t know about you, but this reading is always a breath of fresh air. In the business of every day life, I have lost confidence in myself, doubted myself, failed, sinned, put myself down, or life just seems to not be going well. I am an eternal optimist so this can take a toll on me.
We are continually searching for our identity, our purpose. Today, Jesus clearly states how much the Father, our Creator, loves us and how important we are. He reveals our identity and it reminds me how much I am loved by the Father. “So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Listen and reflect in the silence today on this reading. Allow it to sink in and remind yourself of it daily. Maybe this is mirror material (put in your mirror to read each morning) for the journey.
In today’s Gospel Jesus reveals the love of the Father for His creation and that sin has consequences. Jesus sees everything. ”Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known”. Next, Jesus hits us with something even more powerful, “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 body and soul in Gehenna”. Our fallen human nature, the seven deadly sins are weighing on us plus the temptations of the most powerful angel who fell, Satan.
Part of our human identity we inherited is a fallen sinner. This is why Jesus came down to earth in the mud and the muck of sin to raise us above it. It is important that we ask Jesus through Mary to keep us in the light and away from the cliff that leads to darkness. We can form good habits through fasting, discipline, and God’s grace to form virtues which help us to make these temptations less daunting.
We all know that we love certain sins and some temptations are unbearable. Conquering sin is a lifelong battle, but God sent His Son to free us from sin through the grace of the sacraments. God’s grace restores what sin has damaged. Again, nothing is concealed or hidden from God. Don’t think you are getting away with anything or rationalize it away as something everyone is doing or it is not that bad. God’s love for you and His desire to have a relationship with you for all eternity is way more important than what everyone else thinks or does.
We have the spiritual powers of mind, will, and memory to know, love, and serve God which help us to fight these deadly sins. It is a daily battlefield which starts in our hearts and minds. The beauty of this Gospel is God’s love for us and that Christ died for us and gave us the power to overcome these things.
If we do not fight, we take the power of the cross away. ”Even all the hairs on your head are counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows”. God created us in His image and likeness and through Jesus’s death and resurrection we are called to be fighters, it is our duty and responsibility branded with Jesus Christ at Baptism. I have found my identity, I am at peace among the storms. “God became Man, so man could become gods.” -St. Athanasius
Jesus warns us if we do not fight or learn from the Word of God. “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”. Ouch! Often we are afraid to talk about Jesus or pray in a restaurant. We are even afraid to read the Bible in our homes or have someone notice us on our knees praying in our homes.
We are sometimes afraid to ask our own family to pray the rosary in the car. We struggle to mix religion with politics. On the other hand we have people dying for Christ as martyrs. What’s the difference between the two people? A daily relationship with Christ, dying to our ego, being open to His graces and responding to His purpose and mission for us.
Jesus reminds us not to be afraid. We may be humiliated or persecuted even in our own homes, but I would rather go through that short term hardship to make sure I am not humiliated or persecuted in front of my Creator. Eternity is forever, our time on earth is temporary.
Today’s challenge: Be bold, pray publicly, ask others to pray with you, kneel and pray everyday in your home no matter who might see you, get caught reading the Bible and saying your daily rosary. God sees everything. Jesus, Mary, and the saints are the only audience that matters. Read about the saints who had heroic virtue and did these things when many knew they would die for it!!!!! God’s love is the most powerful thing in the world and we are the beneficiaries of it. What will you do with it?
Be a servant, become a saint!