Do not be afraid, says the Lord

July 13, 2019 – Saturday 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From the Book of Genesis (49:29-32; 50:15-26A)

 Jacob gave his sons this charge:
“Since I am about to be taken to my people,
bury me with my fathers in the cave that lies
in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave in the field of Machpelah,
facing on Mamre, in the land of Canaan,
the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite
for a burial ground.
There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried,
and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah,
and there, too, I buried Leah–
the field and the cave in it
that had been purchased from the Hittites.”

Now that their father was dead,
Joseph’s brothers became fearful and thought,
“Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us
and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!”
So they approached Joseph and said:
“Before your father died, he gave us these instructions:
‘You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you
to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers,
who treated you so cruelly.’
Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we,
the servants of your father’s God, committed.”
When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears.
Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him
and said, “Let us be your slaves!”
But Joseph replied to them:
“Have no fear.  Can I take the place of God?
Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good,
to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.
Therefore have no fear.
I will provide for you and for your children.”
By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them.

Joseph remained in Egypt, together with his father’s family.
He lived a hundred and ten years.
He saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation,
and the children of Manasseh’s son Machir
were also born on Joseph’s knees.

Joseph said to his brothers: “I am about to die.
God will surely take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land
that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Then, putting the sons of Israel under oath, he continued,
“When God thus takes care of you,
you must bring my bones up with you from this place.”
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.

 

From the Gospel of Matthew (10:24-33)

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.”

HOMILY

How often do you worry? I am sure that you would find yourself worrying about many things in life, almost every day. You worry about your husband or your wife, or your growing children and the failing health of your parents. And particularly among us young people today, we might find ourselves also worrying about the demands of our job or the difficulties in our business, or about our new relationships, and newfound friends. We might also find ourselves worrying about our tomorrow, of what is to come the next day. Or worrying also about our unfulfilled dreams and unsatisfied desires.

Our worries and anxieties may prevent us from seeing things as they are because our minds and hearts are already troubled. When worries and anxieties overwhelm us too, we might not be able to respond properly and responsibly because we are internally disturbed. Indeed, excessive worrying may lead us to high anxiety, which may cause us physical and mental illness. When this comes, our decision making process is also affected and our relationships with others and even with God will suffer.

This is what Joseph prevented among his brothers. The Book of Genesis told us this fear and anxieties of the brothers of Joseph. Remember, the brothers of Joseph sold him to the Egyptians. Thus, after the death of their father Jacob, the brothers were troubled thinking that Joseph might take his revenge on them.

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However, Joseph assured his brothers and said twice to them, “have no fear.” Joseph did not want his brother to burry themselves in guilt and shame and hence, of constant anxiety and fear for being punished by Joseph. Joseph was not a vengeful and violent man. Rather, he was a kind person. Thus, Joseph assured his brothers of his kindness and forgiveness.

Moreover, Jesus reminded his disciples with the same message, “do not be afraid.” Three times we have heard this in today’s Gospel. Jesus does not wish that his disciples will be robbed from his gift of peace. Jesus knows that once the disciples will allow their fear and anxieties to overwhelm them, then, it will be difficult for them to recognize God in the life and in their ministry.

This is the reason why Jesus assured the disciples of the power of his presence. Jesus’ presence empowers and gives life to the believing disciples. In fact, the affection of God towards us as special beings because we are worth more than many sparrows, means that God takes care of us. As Joseph assured his brothers of his kindness, God assures us today of his abiding presence and empowering words.

Thus, it is very important that we remain calm and at peace with ourselves and with what surrounds us. It is in this way that as disciples today, we will be able to move forward with our life and will be able to respond generously to what God calls us to be.

Hence, it is also good to remember of the gift of peace Jesus gave to us. Remember, during the Easter Season we have been reminded that the Risen Jesus has gifted us with his peace.

The peace the Jesus gives means growing in confidence with God, and with my brothers and sisters no matter who they are. Thus, this peace allows us to see and recognize our brothers and sisters. This peace breaks any form of division, discrimination and indifference.

This goes into our hearts, in believing and becoming confident that God is with us and that God never abandons us. This peace sips through our troubled life, even into our stressful work or ministry, and into our un-reconciled relationships and to our anxieties of what is to come tomorrow.

Jesus gives us His Peace! And he is saying to us now, “do not be afraid.” Are we ready to accept it? Are we willing to embrace it? Or do we prefer to just do our normal and usual things in life? To continue making ourselves submerged in worries and anxieties?

Jesus wants us to be free from the troubles of worries and anxieties, to be free from fears and hesitations. This is the reason why the Lord gives Himself to us so that we will have him and enjoy his peace.

Thus, be confident that the Lord is with us; he is among us and within us. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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A Dose of God Today

A-Dose-of-God-Today : Your Daily Spiritual Nourishment, tries to put into words the thoughts and experiences of the wonder of life through the Holy Scriptures and the many invitations of God today.

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