Lectio Divina 2020-06-19

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Matthew 10: 26-33 “Witness to the Gospel without fear”

One

Matthew 10 v31 ‘So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’

Sometimes when I pray to God I think my prayers seem quite trivial and that I am neglecting for example the bigger issues of world peace or world poverty. But as I read the passage today I felt that God was saying I am listening. Sometimes the small things have away of growing into bigger problems that we can’t solve ourselves.

God loves you and I so much that he wants to hear it all, even though he already knows everyone of our concerns. This morning I felt God prompting me to share all the minor things that have been niggling me over the past week. I sat and let it all spill out.

ABBA, FATHER, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

Two

The words ‘everything now hidden will be made clear’ It made me think of my faith journey. Sometimes my faith is strong and clear. Other times it is weak and unclear. Like driving though thick fog when I struggle to see what is ahead of me I just keep going until it clears. I trust God will guide me though the fog to safety. All we need is to trust and keep our faith. If we do that then everything now hidden while we are on our faith journey will be made clear when we are granted entry into heaven. Once we are in paradise there will be no more thick fog only brilliant and joyous light.

Three

“everything now hidden will be made clear”. There are lots of things I don’t understand (are hidden) but I have to let go of the need to understand. Everything will be made clear but in God’s time not in mine. In the meantime – do not be afraid.

Four

Matthew 10 26-33 ‘So do not be afraid of people’

Even the hairs on your head have been counted

I have been profoundly affected by the social unrest during the past few weeks. During this time I have listened to numerous talks, listened to friends and read literature to try and understand what it feels like to walk in another’s shoes. In my prayer time God has led me to look inside. When have I been afraid of others? When have I been silent when I could have taken a stand. When have I supported systems that don’t benefit all people equally. When have I have I asked for courage and failed to act when I feel God has been calling me to? He wanted the disciples to be vulnerable and not give their power to others and He wants me to do the same.

I turn to Psalm 139 and feel strengthened. We are all created in love, His love for us is so great that there is nowhere that we are that He is not. He is constantly pouring out his love. He knew I was growing in my mother’s womb before anyone else did. And Matthew tells us that every hair has been counted. He knows us intimately. I do not understand His thoughts, but I can trust Him.

Dear Lord, help me to remember that there is not a moment that you are not present with us. In the darkness and in the light. In our suffering and in our joy. The love you are pouring out is not just for me but for the world. Help me today to share that love with all who pass my way. Those who I find easy to love and those who I find difficult to love. Help me to be willing to accept your courage, even when I am afraid to act on what you are asking me to do. You have never abandoned me, let me not abandon you.

‘Because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast, and with ah! bright wings.‘ GM Hopkins

Five

Do not be afraid……. Why every hair on your head has been counted…..

Oh what a comforting realization😊.
Thanks be to God.
(no hair cut in 3 months, that’s a big job).

Six

“Do not be afraid of people.” There is so much in those words that I can’t deal with as I am very afraid of people just now; hence fourteen weeks of shielding. I know this has a far greater and deeper meaning and I understand that people can hurt us and do all kinds of things that matter very much in our day to day lives. Some people have to go through horrendous times and situations but even those unthinkable issues can’t take away the love that the Father has for us. He made us out of pure, total, unconditional love and He is not going to let anyone take us from Him. We must never be afraid of telling people how good God is. We must evangelise. Jesus says “If anyone declares publicly that he belongs to me, I will do the same for him before my Father in Heaven.”

Seven

Friends
Here we have Jesus talking and teaching about fear, not for the first or the last time.
It is said that the commonest phrase in the bible is “Be not afraid” or words to that effect – apparently 365 instances, not that I’ve counted them. Doubtless someone has.

But it tells us that fear is a common habit – otherwise why so frequently advise against it?
It also implies that we have the choice to fear, or not to fear – again, otherwise why advise against it? It is a habit, not inevitable.

Here Jesus gives the advice in three forms “Have no fear”, “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid”

To know whom his listeners were not to fear, we have to look at vv16-23 to know who “them” is, in “do not fear them”. They are those who bring accusations, who persecute.
Then we have a section that may not seem at first sight related – secret things will be made known, things in the dark will be made brighter, and things whispered will be proclaimed – amplified.

Perhaps this means that the truths the disciples have known will become evident to all, destroying the arguments of their accusers, or maybe even by implication the accusers themselves.

But then, the solemn warning DO fear the one who has power to destroy both body and soul.

Taken out of context this is – er – fearful, but it is coupled with a glorious promise:
Whoever acknowledges me I will acknowledge to the Father, and whoever denies me I will deny to the Father.

So, in summary – do not fear, and acknowledge Jesus as the Christ.

Eight

“Don’t be intimidated.
Everything is going to be out in the open and everyone will know how things really are.
So don’t hesitate to go public now.”
“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies …”

The Message translation nearly always gives me a new perspective.

So, I will trust in God with wonder and awe and do my best to live my faith.
God cares for me and will help me not to be intimidated nor made silent.
I will speak out for God in the power of the Spirit.

Nine

Quite straight forward, ‘Do not be afraid’

Exactly the same first words St John Paul II said from the balcony after been elected Pope to the gathered multitude and to everybody in the world. I was too young to understand fully how great those words were.

It seems that the same words and variations appear 365 times in the Bible. Definitively I can recall them in some of my favourite quotes, as: Gen 26:24, Jos 1:9, Is 41:10, Jn 14:27…

Surely these are reassuring words for me, and so more in the current situation created by the COVID-19 and the tsunami effect in the economies of, I believe, all countries of the world, and in each one of our homes.

But, why does it need God to remind us so many times that He is with us, caring for us, so we don’t need to feel afraid? Probably it is our human nature, we want to take the matters into our own control, and it is difficult to let other, even if that other is God, to do the job for us.

And, yet, that is exactly the question, we need to let it go on control, we need to trust the Word of God, we need to abandon ourselves into His caring hands, as said in Mk 5:36 ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’

Thank you Lord for caring for me, for dealing with my problems for me, for staying by me always, for your infinite love.

Blessed be the Lord. Amen