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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

Fear Him that can destroy the body and soul in hell
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK

Gen. 49:29-33.50:15-26, Mt. 10:24-33. Today's first reading presents us with an account of the death of Jacob, in the land of Egypt after being reunited with his son Joseph, surrounded by all of his extended family. Then, the brothers of Joseph were afraid that he, who was the Regent of Egypt, would use his power to his advantage and revenge against them after their father had passed away. Joseph directs their attention away from himself and refocus their minds on God who completes the divine plan in spite of the wrong doings of mortals. Joseph reassures his brothers that God will continue to fulfil the divine promises and eventually bring the children of Israel back to the land promised to their ancestors. Joseph realises that God is the true authority in these matters and no one, including himself, is mightier or greater than God. In today's Gospel, Jesus also reassures His disciples how there is nothing that they need to worry about since each one of them are precious to Him.

Jesus reminds them that He will stand for them before His Father if they stand for the Gospel message before others. Faithful proclamation and practice of the Gospel inevitably puts disciples on collisions with the powers of this world. Jesus prepares His disciples for the mission, He is starkly realistic about the threats they will face, at the same time He builds the case for why they should not let this fear hinder their witness. They are to undertake their mission in complete vulnerability and dependence on God (Mt. 10:8-11). “Do not fear” is the recurrent message, but first, Jesus offers a warning: whatever fate awaits teachers or masters also awaits their disciples and slaves (Mt. 10:24-25). If Israel’s elites call Jesus “the prince of demons” (Cf. Mt. 9:34.12:24), the disciples should be ready for a similar response: “So have no fear of them” (Mt. 10:26). The warming that whatever is covered up will be uncovered and secrets made known arises from the disclosive power of the Gospel, in which the disciples participate through the means of their mission. Their simplicity, vulnerability and dependence on God demonstrate the reality of God’s presence and character in the face the world’s claims to possess real power. The next expression of reassurance addresses this fear directly, yet with irony (Mt. 10:28-31): "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Jesus admits that humans exercise this power, but notes that they have power only to kill the body, not the whole person. The threat of violence and death are real concerns for the disciples, but no longer the determining force in their lives, for the one who has ultimate power over our whole being exercises that power with mercy and love.

May the Lord be with us as the cornerstone of all that we build and give us the strength to create a new life and a new world! Amen!! Good morning, Happy weekend!!!

 
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