Friday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time
“Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
In Scriptures, birds symbolize many things. Sacred authors invoke their trust in the Divine Providence who supplies them with daily bread. The Lord presents himself thus to Job: “Who provides nourishment for the ravens when their young ones cry out to God, and they rove abroad without food?” (Job 38:41) Sparrows and swallows build their nests in the Lord’s house and seek the protection of his altar.” (Psalm 84:3)
Jesus tells his disciples that on account of the Gospel, they will face hardship and difficulty, opposition and division, conflict and betrayal. Jesus does not promise to save them from suffering and death. But he assures them of God’s unfailing care. Just as God cares even for the least and most insignificant creatures, like the sparrows which are so common that they have very little commercial value, so does God have all our interests at heart. If God cares for these little birds, how much more will God care for Jesus’ disciples? No disciple need be afraid, then, for he or she can truly say, “God cares for me.”
“Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Let us put this in the context of the things we are afraid of… Our fear that our plans, dreams, and ambitions will not be fulfilled can be overcome if we believe that God has a greater plan for us. Our fear of getting sick or terminally ill of cancer can be overcome if we trust in God’s healing presence. Our fear of losing our jobs, careers, business, our possessions, can be overcome if we have confidence in God’s providence. Our fear, worry, or anxiety about the future of our loved ones – their well-being, safety, and financial security – can be overcome if we truly believe that God loves them more than we do, more than we can ever love them.
Such an awareness of God’s care, concern, and love should give us an enormous sense of freedom about living our lives and facing life’s trials. The ultimate freedom in life comes from trusting your life totally to God. “You are worth more than many sparrows.”