Following God’s love will lead you in right direction
“Jesus said to the Twelve: ‘Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, not secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light, what you hear whispered, proclaim to 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 10:26-33)
“I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” The reason I usually get this column in at the last minute is that I’m easily distracted while writing it, this time, in a good way. After reading this Sunday’s Gospel passage, I had to wander off to YouTube and listen to various versions of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It was a favorite of Gospel great Ethel Waters but I think I like the Lauryn Hill/Tanya Blount version best. Give it a listen. The hymn is comforting. The Gospel passage, taken in its entirety, offers that comfort with a serving of honest truth about this world we live in.
We hear the lines, “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.” How amazing that the creator of the universe would be aware of the smallest details of our existence. It speaks to God’s unique and personal love for each of us. But that’s not all Jesus says here.
The sparrows still fall. This world can be a dangerous place. Bad things can and do happen. But Jesus reminds us that this world is not our destination, it’s our journey. He says “Fear no one.” This world is a scary place but Jesus speaks the fundamental truth here. No earthly person, force or disease has the power to destroy our soul, our eternal self.
Jesus is speaking to the Apostles. While details about the lives of these men are scarce, tradition has it that all but John would be martyred for their faith in Christ. Jesus doesn’t tell them that God, who knows every hair on their head, is going to spare them from suffering, he tells them that God will be with them and when their work is done, Jesus himself will stand with them before the Father. So they joyfully did as Jesus commanded, they spoke in the light what they had learned in the darkness. The secrets Jesus whispered to them they shouted from the housetops. Like the sparrows, and like all of us will, they fell. But oh, what they accomplished while they still flew! As the early Christian writer Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seeds of the church.”
We may not be martyrs but we all suffer some in this life. God’s love for me is not a force field that protects me from pain. It is the force that leads me on the path through this world that ends up before him, with Jesus, in the next.
Editor’s note: Ellen Sargent is a long-time resident of the Marquette area and member of the Catholic Church. She is married to Mining Journal Managing Editor Bud Sargent.