USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”
Good News Reflection: A prayer that reveals what is hidden
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed….” We can make a prayer out of this scripture for the people we know who are caught up in deceptions and other hidden dangers.
Here’s an example of how this works. When our daughter was a college student, she planned to move into an apartment with an emotionally troubled gal who’d been her best friend in high school. Knowing that there’s a huge difference between occasional sleepovers and living together, my husband and I were concerned about what would happen if she became exposed to this friend on a daily basis. Our daughter didn’t think that her friend’s problems were all that bad, so we prayed that Jesus would reveal whatever was concealed. We asked him to shed the light of truth on the situation so that she could see the warning signs before it was too late.
Soon, the truth came out. Our daughter discovered that her friend had been lying to her for a long time. Then other disturbing facts began to surface that made her dislike the idea of living with this friend.
Sometimes this prayer reveals the truth almost immediately, or it can take many months or even years if the person who needs to see the truth prefers to stay in the illusions of falsehood. But always what is hidden in darkness does become visible.
Jesus also says in this scripture: “Don’t be afraid of anything except that which can send you to Gehenna [hell].” (Gehenna was a valley just outside Jerusalem where human sacrifices were made and garbage was burned; its horror and stench inspired the description of hell that we still use today.)
Jesus adds that we have nothing to fear, because God cares about us. He cares much more about you and me than he cares for the sparrows that he feeds. He cares so much that he knows how many hairs we have – and he cares about each strand, even the grey ones and the falling-out ones!
In caring so much about us, God wants us to know the truth. If we don’t understand a Church law or teaching, we can ask the Holy Spirit to explain it to us, and of course he will – watch for it to gradually unfold. If we can’t understand why something painful is happening to us, we can ask the Holy Spirit about it, and we’ll gain new wisdom when we quiet ourselves. If we’re uncertain about the value of a particular relationship, or if we’re wondering if there are any hidden dangers, we can ask Christ to shed his light on it, and he will do it.
Even so, if we don’t really want to know the truth, we won’t see it. Jesus told us to be on guard against such hypocrisy. Trust God! He will never neglect your need for the truth.
Today’s Prayer:My Lord, may I face everyday hardships with trust in You and praising You with Your fire inside of me. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica